Survey: 52% of Americans Are Uneasy About News Reports Produced by AI

Robot AI typewriter
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The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism’s annual Digital News Report has revealed growing global concerns about the use of AI in news production and its potential to contribute to the spread of misinformation.

The report, based on surveys of nearly 100,000 people across 47 countries, highlights the fresh challenges faced by newsrooms already grappling with audience engagement and revenue generation. As tech giants like Google and OpenAI develop tools that can summarize information and divert traffic from news websites, newsrooms worldwide are working to address the new challenge posed by generative AI.

However, the report found that consumers are wary of the use of AI in creating news content, especially for sensitive subjects such as politics. In the U.S. and UK, 52 percent and 63 percent of respondents, respectively, expressed discomfort with news produced primarily by AI. The survey, which included 2,000 people in each country, noted that respondents were more accepting of behind-the-scenes AI use to enhance journalists’ efficiency.

Nic Newman, senior research associate at the Reuters Institute and lead author of the Digital News Report, expressed surprise at the level of suspicion, stating, “People broadly had fears about what might happen to content reliability and trust.”

Concerns about false news content online have also risen by three percentage points from last year, with 59 percent of survey respondents expressing worry. This figure was higher in South Africa and the U.S. at 81 percent and 72 percent, respectively, as both countries prepare for elections this year.

Another challenge facing news organizations is the general reluctance of audiences to pay for news subscriptions. Despite some growth during the pandemic, the percentage of respondents across 20 countries who paid for online news has remained unchanged at 17 percent for the past three years. In the U.S., a significant proportion of news subscribers (46 percent) were likely paying discounted rates due to trials or promotions.

The report also highlights the growing role of news influencers in delivering news to users of popular online platforms like China’s TikTok. In a survey of more than 5,600 TikTok users who used the app for news, 57 percent said they primarily followed individual personalities, while only 34 percent mainly followed journalists or news brands.

Read more at Reuters here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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