Australians among the most worried about misinformation

THE voice referendum and wars abroad have helped spur a steep rise in concern among Australians about online misinformation well above the global average.

Australians are among the world’s most worried about misinformation online with the Indigenous voice referendum and international conflicts among the issues heightening fears.

Bristol PaintsAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us –

Three in four Australians are concerned about misinformation in 2024, says the University of Canberra’s Digital News Report that recorded an increase from 64 percent in 2022.

Only South Africa (81 percent) recorded a higher level of concern than Australia’s 75 percent, which is well above the international average of 58 percent.

Domestic and international events influenced the sharp rise in concern among the 2003 Australian adults surveyed, the report found.

“This rise in concern is likely influenced by a range of high-profile issues dominating the international news such as the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the war in Ukraine, as well as local factors such as scare campaigns around the Voice to Parliament referendum at the end of 2023,” said the report released on Monday.

The Israel-Palestine conflict (39 percent), climate change (35 percent), and national politics (34 percent) topped the list of subjects for misleading and false content.

Meanwhile, the report says trust in news fell 40 percent in 2024 from 43 percent the previous year, while distrust rose to 33 percent from 25 percent in 2018.

Public Interest Journalism Initiative chief executive Anna Draffin emphasised the critical role of high-quality journalism in combating misinformation.

“Our society has never needed high-quality news more,” she wrote in the report.

“The democratisation of mass communication has delivered countless benefits, but it has also facilitated the spread of unreliable, unmediated information at scale and pace.”

The report highlights demographic and political differences in how misinformation is perceived and encountered.

Men reported more misinformation than women, possibly due to differing news consumption, levels of concern, or abilities to identify trustworthy information.

Younger cohorts such as Generations Z and X are increasingly concerned about misinformation, nearing the level of older generations.

“This may be related to emerging video-based digital platforms and the spread of AI-generated content, which younger generations are more likely to access,” the report said.

By Marty SILK, AAP

Leave a Reply