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As disinformation, misinformation, fake news, deepfakes, actual information warfare, etc. grow increasingly prevalent, people cannot trust the information they read, hear, and watch. Misinformation and disinformation refer to the spread of false or misleading information. Misinformation is information that is incorrect but is shared without the intent to deceive, while disinformation is information that is intentionally false or misleading and is spread with the intent to deceive or manipulate. In today's digital age, misinformation and disinformation can spread quickly and easily through social media, messaging apps, and other online platforms. This can lead to confusion and mistrust among the public, and can have negative impacts on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Misinformation and disinformation can lead to a lack of trust in institutions, experts and traditional media, and they can also be used as a tool of manipulation and influence in political or economic contexts. To address this challenge, it is essential to promote media literacy and critical thinking skills, to increase transparency and accountability of online platforms and actors that spread misinformation, and to work with fact-checkers, journalists and experts to ensure that accurate information is widely available and accessible. It's also important for governments, international organizations, and private sector to collaborate to find solutions to misinformation and disinformation, as well as to continue to research and understand the underlying causes and effects of this phenomenon.The expectation that claims should be validated via tech and transparency. Some consumers are questioning mainstream sources of information and exploring alternative truths. This is unsurprising in a polarised world where concerns about fake news are at an all-time high. For instance, sizeable minorities of consumers say they reject outright the authority of the media (36% in GB and 34% in the US) and political leaders (24% in GB and 30% in the US). Meanwhile, 10% of consumers globally disagree that they trust modern medicine. This rises to 21% in Russia, and 14% in the US and Poland. Big Tech and search engines are not immune, with Fast Companyreporting that crowd-powered sources of information such as reddit are supplanting Google as a trusted source for searches. In summer 2022, Google tried to counter this tendency with their Let’s Internet Better campaign on TikTok and YouTube, aimed at encouraging younger users to use its search tools to verify information. Consumers seeking facts in unconventional places can come to alternative or even dangerous conclusions. Some become adherents of conspiracy theories such as QAnon, which at its peak was estimated to have around 4.5 million followers on Facebook and is reported to be staging a comeback in 2022. Consider also the anti-vax movement; it has been reported that while COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy declined at a global level between 2020 and 2021 from 29% to 25%, it actually grew in some markets – including South Africa, the US and Nigeria. Meanwhile, the storming of the US Capitol by protestors on 6 January 2021 is one high-profile example of action by a counter-cultural movement, and while 65% of US consumers disagree with the idea that the protests were necessary, 20% agree.

Losing the sense of truth

KEY TRENDS

Shifts in Power