Fact Finders

Consumers are becoming more skeptical of mainstream sources of information and exploring alternative truths. Some are rejecting the authority of the media, political leaders, and even modern medicine. As a result, they are turning to unconventional sources like Reddit, which is supplanting Google as a trusted source for information. However, this trend can lead to the spread of dangerous conspiracy theories and increase in vaccine hesitancy.

This trend originates from the report:


The expectation that claims should be validated via tech and transparency Some consumers are questioning mainstream sources of information and exploring alternative truths. This is unsurprising in a polarized world where concerns about fake news are at an all-time high. For instance, sizable minorities of consumers say they reject outright the authority of the media (36% in GB and 34% in the US) and political leaders (24% in GB and 30% in the US).

Meanwhile, 10% of consumers globally disagree that they trust modern medicine. This rises to 21% in Russia, and 14% in the US and Poland. Big Tech and search engines are not immune, with Fast Company reporting that crowd-powered sources of information such as reddit are supplanting Google as a trusted source for searches.

In summer 2022, Google tried to counter this tendency with their Let’s Internet Better campaign on TikTok and YouTube, aimed at encouraging younger users to use its search tools to verify information. Consumers seeking facts in unconventional places can come to alternative or even dangerous conclusions. Some become adherents of conspiracy theories such as QAnon, which at its peak was estimated to have around 4.

5 million followers on Facebook and is reported to be staging a comeback in 2022. Consider also the anti-vax movement; it has been reported that while COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy declined at a global level between 2020 and 2021 from 29% to 25%, it actually grew in some markets – including South Africa, the US and Nigeria. Meanwhile, the storming of the US Capitol by protestors on 6 January 2021 is one high-profile example of action by a counter- cultural movement, and while 65% of US consumers disagree with the idea that the protests were necessary, 20% agree.