Majority of US adults identify social media as primary source of disinformation

In a recent survey conducted by UNESCO and Ipsos in September 2023, an alarming 64% of US adults identified social media as the primary breeding ground for disinformation and “fake news.” This revelation places a spotlight on the pervasive issue of misinformation, particularly as the nation navigates a presidential election year. For marketers, this escalating concern adds an additional layer of complexity to the already challenging landscape of brand safety.

As the political climate intensifies, the risk of encountering misinformation on social media becomes increasingly pronounced. This poses a significant challenge for marketers, who must grapple with the potential adjacency of their content to unsavory and misleading posts. The very platforms that brands rely on to connect with audiences are now perceived as hotbeds for spreading false information.

Amid this growing awareness, some social media platforms are taking steps to distance themselves from political content. TikTok, for instance, has opted to forego political ads entirely. Similarly, Instagram and Threads have made commitments to cease the promotion of political content. However, the ambiguity surrounding the definition of what constitutes “political” content leaves some uncertainty in the effectiveness of these measures.

In the face of outdated and insufficient policies on misinformation and disinformation, marketers must establish clear guidelines for responding to brand safety issues. Insider Intelligence’s Political Content and Social Media 2024 report underscores the inadequacies of current social platform policies in addressing the challenges posed by misinformation. This calls for a proactive approach from brands to safeguard their reputation in an environment where misinformation thrives.

As the battle against misinformation on social media continues, it becomes imperative for brands to navigate this landscape with caution. Establishing robust guidelines and staying vigilant in monitoring and responding to brand safety issues are essential steps for marketers seeking to navigate the complex intersection of digital marketing and the prevalence of disinformation on social media platforms.

Written by Maya Robertson


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