Americans OK With Social Platforms Censoring Fake News, Survey Finds

More bad news about fake news: A new survey from Morning Consult finds more than 70% of Americans have heard about the “fake news” controversy, and nearly half (49%) say they have been exposed to fake news at least once a day through Facebook and Twitter.

In addition, 69% of those polled said they have started to read a news story only to realize later that it wasn’t real.

On the question of whether Facebook, Twitter, and Google should be able to censor fake news, a majority of Americans say they are comfortable with tech companies censoring fake news — 71% said it was appropriate for Google, Facebook and Twitter to remove fake news, and 67% said it was appropriate for Web service providers to remove it.



With regard to who is most responsible for policing fake news, Americans think they and social media sites are most responsible for policing fake news, but believe all actors must play a role. For example, 24% of Americans said "the person reading the news" is the most responsible for ensuring they are not exposed, followed by Facebook and Twitter at 17%. The government comes in third with 14% of the vote, followed by Web services providers at 10%, and search engines (such as Google) at 9%.

Notably, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say that social media sites are more responsible for ensuring that people are not exposed to fake news (21% versus 17%). And Republicans are more likely to say "the person reading the news" is more responsible (25% versus 20%).

Interestingly, credibility among news outlets varies. For example, CNN led cable news channels, with 60% saying it's a credible news source. ABC was the highest-ranked broadcast channel, chosen by 67% of respondents as a credible source.  In addition, 64% percent viewed The Wall Street Journal as credible, while 63% viewed the New York Times as credible. And 18% of respondents said The Onion is credible, while 19% said the same of Breitbart News.

2 comments about "Americans OK With Social Platforms Censoring Fake News, Survey Finds".
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  1. Tom Gray from WCMH, December 7, 2016 at 12:14 p.m.

    Pretty slippery slope having companies censor and decide what we can or cannot see.  If people are unable to differentiate fake news from a credible news story, that's on them.  Companies should not be making those decisions for us.  Are they going to vett every news story coming out of NYT, Washpo, fox news to make sure the reporting is accurate.  Scary that most americans are actually for this type of policing of content. 

  2. Jennifer Jarratt from Leading Futurists, LLC, December 7, 2016 at 5:58 p.m.

    The man who opened fire with a rifle in a DC pizza restaurant last week was doing what Mr. Gray suggested, as he said, investigating for himself whether a fake news story he had read was true. When he was convinced that the story was not true he was willing to stop firing, no doubt to the relief of the customers.

    As a former journalist I know only too well from experience how difficult it can be for many people to tell truth from falsehood in a news story they've read or seen. I can only hope that Mr. Gray's TV studio takes its fact-checking seriously. Or is he saying that the station shouldn't have that responsibility and that it is up to the viewers to decide?

    In my opinion, anyone publishing what they call a news story should be willing to stand by its truth, and not pass that burden on to the hapless reader/viewer. There have always been operators at the margins of what is called media who are ready to stretch the truth. Let's not expand their number.

    And by the way, news organizations have always self-censored, because of their advertisers, their publishers, their politics, sense of decency, prejudices, etc. etc. No one's perfect.

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