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81% global executives say Google and Facebook should be held accountable for content

The Tomorrow’s News 2018 survey, based on inputs of 1,587 global executives, also says 62% agree that brands have full control over where their ads appear

In the age of fake news and brands safety issues, a survey published by Reuters Plus has found that 81% global executives think Google and Facebook should be held accountable for content.

The third annual Tomorrow’s News survey, based on a new survey of 1,587 global executives, has found that executives think platforms should do more to combat fake news, are increasingly sceptical of social media and blame brands for adverts placed alongside inappropriate content but are also increasingly see news brands as a source of trusted content.

According to the survey, 77% respondents agreed that advertising next to inappropriate content can damage the perception of a brand. Furthermore, it was also found that brands are held responsible for where adverts are placed: 62% agreed that “brands have full control over where their advertising appears”.

The research – conducted by Synergy Research and Consulting – said executives are growing increasingly sceptical of social media as a source of news: they are less trusting of news shared on social media (24% trusted the source of news stories shared compared to 28% last year), share less (38% actively shared news vs 49% in 2017) and are concerned about fake news (85% said fake news has made them doubt news stories shared on social media).

The survey found that executives are also keen to burst their “filter bubbles”. 76% respondents said that personalisation narrowed their views and 88% wanted to see a balance of content they like and dislike.

While the findings of the survey may present challenges for platforms and advertisers, there are encouraging results for news publishers. 80% of the executives surveyed agreed that “a news brand is a mark of quality on a story” and an increasing number believed their news consumption will continue to grow (66%, up from 50% in 2016).

Executive are also more likely to turn to online news brands over social media for “opinions from respected anchors, reporters or journalists” (80% vs 17%) and to “obtain in depth analysis and opinion of a news story” (88% vs 12%).

Commenting on the research and its findings, Munira Ibrahim, SVP Sales and Content Solutions, Reuters, said, “Advertising agencies and tech companies alike are having to pay more attention to good governance and integrity. Executives are looking for factual and impartial content in a trusted environment and the findings of this research highlight the enduring importance of trusted brands in an era of fake news.”

Click here to view The Tomorrow’s News 2018 survey

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