News disinterest reaches a global record, according to the Reuters Institute

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism is a research center and think tank that annually produces a report analyzing trends among content consumers. This year has occurred in a very complex international context that has confirmed the relevance of having rigorous and independent journalism. However, the media is facing several ravages, including misinformation, low trust, attacks from politicians and business uncertainty. The 2024 report has documented several keys in relation to these challenges and one of the conclusions it has reached is that information disinterest has reached a global historical record.

Reuters points out that this crisis does not have a single cause, but rather has been building over the last few years. “Many of the immediate challenges are exacerbated by the power and changing strategies of large technology companies, including social networks, search engines and video platforms,” ​​the Institute states. Precisely, the report details the scale and impact of these platforms, from which many people receive much of their information and which do not present “any obligation with respect to the news.”

Furthermore, the development of artificial intelligence has also begun to play a particularly important role for the media, as AI-powered search interfaces and ‘chatbots’ threaten to reduce traffic flows to their websites and Applications. AI has also become a means for the development of ‘deepfakes’, that is, false content with a high level of realism for readers, such as images or videos edited by AI.

Some of the most relevant findings from the Reuters Institute’s 2024 report:

– News consumption on online platforms is fragmented. 30% of the global sample uses YouTube to get information every week and around 20% does so on WhatsApp. For the first time, TikTok, with 13%, has surpassed Twitter, which, now called X, has 10%.

– Video becomes a source of special importance for online news, especially among young groups. The epicenter of this format in news occurs on the platforms (72%) and not on the media websites (22%).

– Although the combination changes, the majority continues to mention platforms (which include social networks, search engines and aggregators) as the main source of online news.

– Around six out of ten people are concerned about what is real and what is fake on the internet when it comes to news. Considerably higher figure in South Africa (81%) and the United States (72%), countries with elections this year.

– TikTok and X have had the highest rates of misinformation or conspiracies.

– At the same time, there has been an increase in selective news avoidance. About four in ten (39%) now say they sometimes or often avoid the news – up 3 percentage points from the previous year’s average. The most significant increases occur in Brazil, Spain, Germany and Finland. Open comments from the survey conducted by Reuters indicate that the intricate conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East may have had some impact.

– In a separate question, it has also been observed that the proportion of those who feel “overwhelmed” by the amount of news has risen considerably (+11 percentage points) since the last time this consultation was made, in 2019.

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