Experts are not confident the fake news problem can be successfully treated, a new study shows.
The Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted a survey among 1,116 professionals to determine whether they believe the pervasiveness of misinformation online will continue or recede over the next decade.
More than half of the respondents, 51%, said the information environment will not improve, with the remaining 49% of experts expressing the belief that it will.
Two primary reasons were cited among those who said they don’t believe the information atmosphere will improve over time: Bad actors will continue to take advantage of human nature, and technological advancements will allow these people to manipulate individuals on a broader scale.
On the other hand, the optimists among those surveyed thought technology could be employed to quell the spread of misinformation. They also counted on humans’ propensity to work together to overcome challenges as a potential way people could improve the information environment, whether that be through funding campaigns or advocacy groups.
While fake news has become a staple in the national discourse throughout recent months, Americans have become concerned about its impact on the nation. A Fox News poll conducted in January found that 61% of respondents were “very” concerned about fake news, 23% “somewhat” concerned and 15% were not concerned.
However, in the same poll, respondents expressed an overwhelming sense of confidence in their ability to tell the difference between fake and real news, with 79% saying they believed they could successfully distinguish between the two.