Can you spot fake news?

93% of Brits claim to know what fake news means, but when determining the real headlines from the fakes, 64% of Brits who claimed to be able to spot fake news got at least one headline wrong.

New research from FutureLearn, the leading online social learning platform, found 41% of Brits think Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson exercises four hours a day (fake news), while 24% believe that ‘Stacey Solomon quitting social media’ was fake news, which is in fact, real.

As fake news stories continue to increase on a daily basis, currently being driven on social platforms, the media have been calling on ministers to introduce a law to stop fake news. There’s good reason to, as 93% of Brits claimed they knew what fake news was, however, when asked 64%  of that 93% couldn’t differentiate between a real or fake headline. It has never been more important for the nation to educate itself on when to trust what they read.

The research also revealed that 27% of the UK think friends, family and partners are a reliable source of news. Conversely 59% of Brits still prefer to source news from traditional print and online media.

Social media is cited as popular for trustworthy news, with over a quarter (26%) turning to social platforms. However, in a time where brands are pulling advertising from Facebook for being ‘untrustworthy’, 14% of Gen Z and Millennials still view the site as a reliable source of news.

Making Sense of Data in the Media on FutureLearn, is a free online course where fact-hungry Brits can brush up on their skills and learn to spot fake news. The course, from University of Sheffield, is three weeks long and guides learners through how to read and evaluate data in the media and how to recognise a trustworthy headline.

In addition to sourcing news from media outlets and social media platforms, celebrities have long been a haven for new information, but savvy Brits seem sceptical. Over one in three (38%) don’t trust David Walliams, while nearly half of Brits (45%) aren’t gaga over Lady Gaga’s updates, choosing to trust Louis Theroux (47%), Marcus Rashford (25%) and John Boyega (14%) the most for accurate stories.

Internal data from FutureLearn, also shows that Gen-Z (22%) and Baby Boomers (21%) have a greater desire than any other age group to learn about fake news, with the demographics topping enrolments onto Making Sense of Data in the Media. In addition, women are seemingly keen to learn more about fake news, with 55% signing up to the course run by University of Sheffield.

Whilst fake news is a huge topic, fake pictures from celebrities are also topping the daily news agenda. As well as being the queen of selfies, Brits voted Kim Kardashian as the no.1 perpetrator of ‘photoshop fails’, followed by Britain’s Got Talent star Amanda Holden and Geordie Shore’s, Chloe Ferry.

In response to this, FutureLearn is offering celebrity victims of photoshop fails a free Digital Photography course to take their photography skills to a professional level, without the need for editing apps. ‘Kim, Amanda and Chloe, DM us’, FutureLearn.

The nation’s most trusted sources of news:

  1.    Newspapers (59%)
  2.    Other (27%)
  3.    Family (18%)
  4.    Twitter (16%)
  5.    Friends (16%)
  6.    Partner (15%)
  7.    Facebook (12%)
  8.    Instagram (4%)
  9.    Snapchat (2%)
  10. Celebrities and influencers (0.95%)
  11. TikTok (0.72%)


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