2020 will be the year that fake news finally finds itself in crisis. In line with the general sentiment in favour of authenticity, we’re set to see people turning their heads to trustworthy media platforms that offer transparent and credible information.
In the past years, we’ve seen alongside the widespread accessibility of social media usher in an online world where anyone can publish anything. While the benefits are plentiful, such as empowering individuals from different cultures and regions to connect and share knowledge and enabling the spread of socially and environmentally impactful movements across the world, this open internet also comes with a dark side.
We’ve seen the exponential growth of “fake news,” where small pieces of misinformation and rumours, spread with or without malicious intent, have snowballed to cause confusion and even, in some instances, life-threatening and long-lasting consequences.
Due to weak Truth-in-Advertising laws, especially across the Asian region, many readers, consumers and listeners alike have been left with without the adequate resources to discern between truthful and biased or untrue information, or even hidden advertorial content that has been sponsored by third parties. Trust in media has waned immensely.
But in 2020, due to overall heightened awareness about privacy data, donor/funding sources and mounting doubts over the authenticity of many media platforms, from news sites to magazines and feeds from online “influencers”, people are going to be wary about the information they consume. More people than ever before are looking for authenticity in their consumer decisions, whether it be deciding which brands they are willing to spend their dollars on, or the sites they wish to follow.
This means we’re set to see the rise – or rather, the return of – media that you can trust. People are looking for standout genuine and independent content in the middle of a media world that has become saturated and overloaded with often, low-quality and unchecked news articles, TV programmes and podcasts.
Not only will information that lacks a basis in fact be pointed out by users, competitive businesses and even checked by governmental bodies more frequently this year, companies will also be compelled to disclose their business associations, organisational affiliations and funding more transparently – or risk losing their readership altogether and be put in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
Another way in which this trend will manifest is through the search for issue-targeted “niche” sources of media. Viewers, listeners and readers will search for niches as a demonstration of authenticity. While smaller independent platforms might run on fewer resources, it also means that they’re likely to target particular areas of expertise to solidify their reputation for delivering interest-specific, credible, fact-vetted information. These platforms will see an uptick in their subscriber base with greater and more meaningful engagement, while users will move away from organisations that either dish out “cookie-cutter” content or false information.
Lead image courtesy of Sebra / Shutterstock.