72% Of Australian Business Leaders More Concerned About Misinformation Than Pre-Pandemic

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A recent survey of Australia-based senior business leaders conducted by BBC Global News has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how Australian business leaders consume, engage and share news. It also highlighted a changing outlook among business leaders who are increasingly concerned about misinformation.

The survey questioned 250 senior business leaders in Australia and found that the pandemic has underscored the importance of trustworthiness of news, with 72 per cent of respondents indicating that they are now more concerned about misinformation than they were before the pandemic, with 70 per cent also believing that misinformation could be harmful for society. In addition, 64 per cent cited trustworthiness as being a key attribute when considering news sources – followed closely by objectivity (50 per cent) and impartiality (46 per cent).

The survey also found that 66 per cent of respondents indicated that the pandemic has changed the way they think about the impact of international news on the Australian business landscape & society at large, with 30 per cent also reporting that they were more likely to now choose international over domestic news sources than in the past. This is corroborated findings from earlier this year by global research agency IPSOS that 18 per cent more CEO’s in Australia visited BBC News every month during 2020, compared to before the pandemic. The growth rate of international news consumption in fact came in 15 per cent faster than the average of national publishers among Australia’s CEO’s, which clearly demonstrates a shifting news media habit amongst senior business leaders away from relying on domestic publishers.

The survey found that the pandemic has also altered news sharing behaviour amongst senior business leaders, with over a quarter of respondents indicating that they now share more news with their peers and business contacts compared to before the pandemic. Over 50 per cent of respondents also said they share a piece of news with this group at least once a week. In line with their focus on the trustworthiness of news sources, three quarters of respondents indicated that they would only share news from sources that they trust. This need for trust when sharing media was reciprocal, with 72 per cent indicating that they believe it would reflect badly on them if a story they shared turned out to be untrue and 72 per cent also noting that they were annoyed by those who shared stories from unreliable sources.

Jamie Chambers. Vice President, Advertising & Distribution, ANZ at BBC Global News said: “The pandemic has thrown into sharp focus the impact of global developments on a local level for many Australian business leaders – and we see that in the percentage of leaders now looking to global news as a key source of information. There is no denying that Australian society, as well as global societies as a whole, have been feeling the effects of misinformation since the pandemic and business leaders are not immune to this. As a result, they are now placing an even greater emphasis in wanting trustworthy news with a global perspective to help them better navigate the impacts of the pandemic and a shifting business landscape.”

News consumption amongst senior business leaders in Australia has also changed over the past few years, with nearly 50 per cent of respondents indicating that they are now consuming more news. The majority (45 per cent) of senior business leaders prefer to consume news content through television, followed by 40 per cent turning to websites and apps. Only 10 per cent of respondents indicated that social media was their preferred platform for consuming news content.


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