18 Eye-Opening Fake News Statistics for 2024

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Deyan Georgiev
Written by
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jan 02, 2024

Deyan Georgiev
Website Manager | Joined October 2021 | LinkedIn
Deyan Georgiev

Deyan is an avid enthusiast and self-proclaimed fan of the Windows operating system. His passion for... | See full bio

April Grace Asgapo
Edited by
April Grace Asgapo


April Grace Asgapo
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
April Grace Asgapo

April is a proficient content writer with a knack for research and communication. With a keen eye fo... | See full bio

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In the digital age, we rely heavily on technology and the Internet, making traditional printed newspapers slowly being forgotten. Most people get their news updates from online news sources.

This transition to online news perpetuated the rise of fake news. This leads to 64% of Americans being confused about basic facts.

Confusion is one of the many negative impacts of fake news. Some people also report reducing their news consumption. Others avoid news altogether due to the difficulty of identifying which is factual or not.

More statistics and facts about fake news lie below, showing how prevalent this modern issue is today.

Editor’s Choice

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, 80% of US adults have consumed fake news about it.
  • Fabricated political news is spotted online by an average of 32% of American adults.
  • 64% of US adults believe false information can be confused with facts.
  • Sponsored content articles are deceiving, as 80% of students mistake them for actual news.
  • Based on a 2019 survey, 86% of Internet users get duped by fake news.
  • 67% of US adults have read false information on social media.
  • In 2021, over 60% of Americans believe social media is a place for misinformation.
  • China displays the most trust (79%) in their mainstream news sources, while South Koreans trust the media the least (27%).

What Percentage of Information on the Internet Is True in 2023?

2021 statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that 62% of Internet users saw untrue or doubtful content online. These people report seeing unfactual videos and images across news sites and social media platforms.

Based on that statistic, some people are unsure whether the news they have seen is fake. That brings about other terms associated with fake news:

Infographic comparing the definitions of disinformation, fake news, and misinformation.

Prevalence of Fake News Statistics 2023

Fake news is an insidious issue that initially affected the news industry and soon became a worldwide problem. 44% of American news consumers are strongly concerned about fake news.

The data below will show how prevalent fake news is in 2023:

1. 80% of US adults have consumed fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Statista, ScienceDirect)

Fake news stats show that 80% of US adults have digested information about COVID-19 that’s been fabricated.

💡 What You Should Know

According to a study, disinformation inherently affects people. Even a mere 5-minute exposure to fake news can significantly modify a person’s unconscious behaviors.

For instance, fake news is perceived to have affected election outcomes in various countries. Some people alter their political bias based on misinformation they see online.

For instance, a fake claim about COVID-19 says it was from 5G technology. However, 5G is a global wireless standard that enables faster mobile telecommunication. Meanwhile, COVID-19 is a virus consisting of genetic materials made of protein.

This fake news made some people uncooperative with necessary mandates during the outbreak. That’s how influential disinformation can be.

2. 44% of news consumers say they can’t trust traditional news sources.


Traditional news outlets are struggling with consumer trust these days. There are many reasons for this problem, and fake news plays a major role.

Individuals are beginning to doubt the truthfulness of news sources after falling for fake news. Meanwhile, other consumers take extra steps to review and verify the information’s accuracy before believing it.

3. 87% of global citizens support better education to identify fake news on the Internet.


People worldwide want fake news curbed and removed. Experts see education as one of the things that can help stop the spread of fake news. That’s why 87% of people worldwide support better education regarding Internet use.

⚠️ Warning

Fake news isn’t the only danger on the Internet. Among many others, cyberbullying is another prevalent issue online, affecting 41% of US adults and 46% of teens.

There are also concerns about online privacy due to the widespread presence of hackers, phishing attackers, malware, and more. 

With better education regarding the Internet, the prevalence of people falling victim to these dangers will likely decrease.

4. In 2016, 32% of Americans stated they often see fabricated political news online.

(PEW Research)

A primary concern about fake news is that much political information is fabricated. If someone cannot spot manufactured reports, they might ignorantly share and spread this disinformation. Ultimately, fake news can manipulate democratic decision-making. 

5. 16% of American adults say they’ve shared a story they later realized was fake.

(PEW Research)

Fake news is almost everywhere. No wonder it’s inescapable. That leads to 16% of US adults sharing false information, only to realize later that it was fake. 

Concerningly, 14% of adults in the US readily shared a story they knew was false.

Regardless if the person knows beforehand that the story they’re sharing is fake, sharing fake news will only sustain the spread of false information. This act poses a real threat to factual information.

6. According to research, 64% of US adults think that fake news confuses basic facts about current issues.

(PEW Research)

Not only is fake news distributed and shared, but most US adults believe these stories create more online confusion among the population. 

As fake news spreads, the line between factual and false becomes distorted. When that happens, people find it hard to determine which is true. 

That said, before fake news creates a division among people’s opinions and beliefs, it causes extreme confusion. This happened to 64% of US adults, who were confused about basic facts regarding relevant issues.

Infographics on confusion about basic facts and fake news in America

7. 80% of students surveyed in 2016 believe that sponsored content articles are actual news stories.


📖 Definition

A sponsored article is a type of promotional media. Advertisers pay a publisher to produce marketing content on its website.

According to statistics, 80% of middle school students can’t tell native (paid) ads from actual news articles. Let’s explain why this data is concerning:

The thing about sponsored content articles is they are biased. Such content aims to persuade consumers to avail of a service, buy a product, or trust a person. That’s why, naturally, the content will work on showcasing the positive attributes of the person or company.

Although sponsored content articles try to sound neutral, their aim is still to promote. In the end, sponsored content articles are not considered actual news stories. Moreover, they are seldom factual.

8. A 2019 survey shows 86% of internet users admit being duped by fake news.


Many using the Internet acknowledge that they’ve been confused and deceived into believing news that wasn’t true. According to the same 2019 survey, most Internet users saw believable fake news on Facebook.

Recognizing this is a problem, respondents want social media companies and the government to take action.

⚠️ Warning

Some people only know about the political implications of fake news. However, false information can also deeply affect the healthcare industry.

According to Austin Community College (ACC):

There are many fake and misleading news stories related to medical treatments and major diseases like cancer or diabetes. Trusting these false stories could lead you to make decisions that may harm your health.

Social Media Misinformation Statistics

Many use social media platforms to receive news. Many news outlets have created social media accounts to help spread their reach. However, these credible news sources compete with those who produce fake news and share it on social media.

Infographics on social media news consumption among US adults

The following false information on social media statistics shows the impact of fake news on these platforms.

9. 67% of US adults say they’ve received false information on social media.


Many US adults have stated that they’ve read fake news articles on social media. Now, this statistic only contains those who recognized the information as false. Others might’ve read fake news but couldn’t identify it as misleading.

10. In 2021, Americans believe that 61% of news on social media contains misinformation.

(Knight Foundation)

According to surveyed Americans, most news—61%—they see on social media is false. That figure shows a small decrease from 2018’s 65%.

These people are unsure whether the news they have seen is factual. Concerningly, the majority of fake news on social media is presented as if they are credible.

11. In 2021, 8% of US respondents to a survey said they used Facebook for news.


People spend an average of 2 hours and 31 minutes on social media platforms daily. Facebook is one of the most popular platforms, seeing users spend 33 minutes of their day on the app.

Facebook remains the leading social media network for news consumption among US consumers.

📝 Note: 

Most Facebook users (78%) don’t intentionally go to the platform to see some news. Instead, coming across news and facts are only byproducts of other activities on the platform.

According to Pew Research, this is what people call “drive-by-news.”

12. Facebook posts from misinformation sources receive 6 times more engagement than reputable news sites.

(Business Insider)

Fake news on social media is prevalent, especially on Facebook. Many who mindlessly scroll on social media platforms will likely be preoccupied, unwittingly sharing false information without thinking twice.

To combat these instances, Facebook has applied a notice on news that appears to be false:

Facebook has applied a notice on news that appears to be false

Other social media platforms have followed suit:

Other social media platforms have followed suit

However, some social media users are not impressed by this action. They see it as a band-aid solution. An ideal solution for them would be to delete false information from the platform.

Fake News and Reliable Networks Statistics

Unfortunately, some news networks are perceived as the culprits for spreading fake news. Nowadays, consumers have trust issues when it comes to news networks.

Based on Pew Research’s survey, people from different generations show equal trust and distrust in various news sources.

Infographics on trust in news sources per generation

The stats below will show you more about the recent landscape on trust in media:

13. 27% of US adults believe mainstream media outlets report fake news.

(The Economist)

Some US adults have stated that they regularly see fake news on specific news networks. More alarmingly, some of these outlets are part of mainstream media.

No matter their proven credibility, confusion leads to distrust toward news networks. People don’t know what to believe, and some choose not to follow any more news stories altogether.

People have mixed reasons for doubting mainstream media. One perspective is that news networks will always be companies in it for the money. That affiliation with profits propels their 

by      u/badwolf-usmc from discussion      How much do you personally trust mainstream media?
in      AskAnAmerican   

Some still trust a few mainstream news outlets but doubt others:

by      u/TheBimpo from discussion      How much do you personally trust mainstream media?
in      AskAnAmerican   

14. Based on a 2022 survey, 79% of people from China trust the media as a reliable source of facts and news.


Based on the Statista survey, China shows the most trust in media regarding news and facts. In the UK, France, Colombia, and Japan, 40% of news consumers have confidence in media outlets.

On the other hand, South Koreans doubt the most in media sources, with only 27% of respondents trusting news from those sources. Trust in media has been decreasing in this country, along with Australia, Argentina, Ireland, and Malaysia.

Based on the Korean Economic Institute (KEI), here’s an analysis of why South Korean media has taken a toll:

Several major scandals in the last few years have dealt major blows to Korean trust in the news media. Former President Park Geun Hye was accused of using South Korea’s strict defamation laws to silence critics in the media, causing many moderate to left-leaning publications to self-censor out of fear of prosecution.

15. ABC (61%) and CBS (61%) are the most credible news sources in the US.


This data set shows that most US news consumers recognize major news sources as credible. NBC follows ABC and CBS closely, with a credibility rate of 60% among the survey respondents.

Infographic on trust in major news sources in the US

Wrap Up

Discovering these statistics about fake news is necessary. They show how prevalent false information is, especially on the Internet, which sees 5.6 billion daily users. That’s how false information quickly spreads nowadays.

The pervasiveness of fake news is dangerous. Misinformation has political and health implications for the people it deceives. It’s also a threat to major and credible news sources.

However, the future of fake news is uncertain. Educating Internet users and news consumers will help bat it down. Moreover, articles like this shed more light on the issue and get it under control.


What is the effect of the Internet on news media?

News media outlets have widened their reach thanks to the Internet. It enables news sources to provide updates 24/7 to anyone with an Internet connection worldwide.

How has the Internet affected mainstream media?

The Internet has made it easier for mainstream media to expand its accessibility and user base. At the same time, it became a harbor for fake news and misinformation, reducing consumer trust in mainstream media.

What are the effects of fake news?

Fake news damages the trust between people and the media. This fabricated news distorts the perception of the public, leading to misinformation. 


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