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Chart: The Fake News Problem

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The Fake News Problem in One Chart

Chart: The Fake News Problem

Peer opinion fills a void left by falling trust in mass media

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

There’s been no shortage of blame passed around for the so-called “fake news” epidemic that has been front and center since the U.S. election.

Social media has been singled out as one key factor leading to the spread of misleading or false news. However, low barriers to entry for creating content, hyperpartisanism, confirmation bias, and the echo-chamber effect have also been identified as causes or symptoms in the proliferation of such stories.

It’s certainly a complex problem to unravel, and many proposed solutions are just as alarming as the symptoms they try to treat. The decentralization and fragmentation of information is the core of what makes the internet great, and this democratization helps to decouple power away from the established institutions that may or may not have our interests at heart.

How do we regulate news for its authority and legitimacy without stifling alternate viewpoints, differing narratives, and independent sources of information?

Root Causes

In today’s landscape, people are turning away from traditional media and gravitating towards digital content. In this new digital media paradigm, who is considered a trustworthy and convenient source of information?

As long as they could remain reputable, the mainstream outlets that garnered eyeballs throughout broadcasting history should have been the obvious benefactors of this transition. Groups like CNN and Fox News, or The New York Times and The Washington Post, could have remained unquestioned authorities on the issues.

However, it seems like this opportunity has been recently squandered to some extent. These outlets have been slow to adopt their business strategies to the digital landscape, and they remain in damage control mode as advertising revenues drop and profitability wanes. Publishers have been under immense pressure to generate views, and have taken shortcuts in content creation to do this. Hyperpartisan viewpoints that confirm existing biases (aka, the Huffington Post or Breitbart models) and sensational clickbait headlines have been one easy way to build traffic. Some publishers also have an itchy trigger finger, and it seems that getting a story out first has become more important than verifying its validity.

These above factors have, ironically, led to mass media as being a direct part of the “fake news” problem. The retracted stories on Russian propaganda by the Washington Post have been a lightning rod for scrutiny, and entire posts are dedicated to keeping misleading stories from established media at bay. Having a track record with zero blemishes is obviously a difficult target to hit, but the reality is that we are seeing misleading news from everywhere now: “fake news” outlets, mainstream outlets, and the White House itself.

Falling Trust in Media and Institutions

Even before “fake news” hit the mainstream, a poll by Gallup showed that Americans’ trust in mass media was hitting an all-time low. In September 2016, only 32% of people said they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, which is a decline of -8% from the previous year.

A report from Edelman from January 2017 is even more damning. Trust of the media declined -5% from 2016, which is faster than trust is declining in government (-1%), business (-1%), and NGOs (-2%).

As we mentioned earlier, the rise of fake news is complex and very difficult to untangle. However, the fact is that established news outlets aren’t doing themselves any favors. If people feel like they can’t trust the Washington Post or other such sources, then it should be no surprise that they are turning to the power of “word of mouth” from their peers more often – no matter how fallible this might be.

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Politics

Mapped: 2024 Global Elections by Country

It’s election year around the world, and this map of 2024 global elections by country shows just how many people will be impacted.

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2024 global elections map

Mapping 2024 Global Elections by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

With almost half of the world’s population residing in countries holding executive or legislative elections in 2024, it’s set to be the busiest election year ever recorded.

This visualization uses collated 2024 global elections data from our 2024 Global Forecast Series as well as from Time, while country populations are taken from Worldometer as of January 2024.

Countries Holding 2024 Elections Around the World

Many people are already aware of the U.S. presidential and legislative elections set to be held on November 5th, especially due to American influence on the global political stage and media coverage.

But two governments affecting larger populations, India and the European Union, are also slated to have elections in 2024.

Below, we sort the countries expected to hold elections in 2024 by population (countries with no set election date yet have been marked “N/A”):

CountryElection DateTypePopulation
🇮🇳 IndiaN/ALegislative1,428,627,663
🇪🇺 European Union6/6/2024Legislative448,387,872
🇺🇸 United States11/5/2024Executive & Legislative339,996,563
🇮🇩 Indonesia2/14/2024Executive & Legislative277,534,122
🇵🇰 Pakistan2/8/2024Legislative240,485,658
🇧🇩 Bangladesh1/7/2024Legislative172,954,319
🇷🇺 Russia3/15/2024Executive144,444,359
🇲🇽 Mexico6/2/2024Executive & Legislative128,455,567
🇮🇷 Iran3/1/2024Legislative89,172,767
🇬🇧 UKN/ALegislative67,736,802
🇿🇦 South Africa5/29/2024Legislative60,414,495
🇰🇷 South Korea4/10/2024Legislative51,784,059
🇩🇿 AlgeriaN/AExecutive45,606,480
🇺🇦 Ukraine3/31/2024Executive36,744,634
🇺🇿 UzbekistanN/ALegislative35,163,944
🇬🇭 Ghana12/7/2024Executive & Legislative34,121,985
🇲🇿 Mozambique10/9/2024Executive & Legislative33,897,354
🇲🇬 MadagascarN/ALegislative30,325,732
🇻🇪 VenezuelaN/AExecutive28,838,499
🇰🇵 North KoreaN/ALegislative26,160,821
🇹🇼 Taiwan1/13/2024Executive & Legislative23,923,276
🇲🇱 MaliN/AExecutive23,293,698
🇸🇾 SyriaN/ALegislative23,227,014
🇱🇰 Sri LankaN/AExecutive & Legislative21,893,579
🇷🇴 RomaniaN/AExecutive & Legislative19,892,812
🇹🇩 ChadN/AExecutive18,278,568
🇸🇳 Senegal12/15/2024Executive17,763,163
🇰🇭 Cambodia2/25/2024Legislative16,944,826
🇷🇼 Rwanda7/15/2024Executive & Legislative14,094,683
🇹🇳 TunisiaN/AExecutive12,458,223
🇧🇪 Belgium6/9/2024Legislative11,686,140
🇯🇴 JordanN/ALegislative11,337,052
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic5/19/2024Executive & Legislative11,332,972
🇸🇸 South SudanN/AExecutive & Legislative11,088,796
🇨🇿 CzechiaN/ALegislative10,495,295
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan2/7/2024Executive10,412,651
🇵🇹 Portugal3/10/2024Legislative10,247,605
🇧🇾 Belarus2/25/2024Legislative9,498,238
🇹🇬 Togo4/20/2024Legislative9,053,799
🇦🇹 AustriaN/ALegislative8,958,960
🇸🇻 El Salvador2/4/2024Executive & Legislative6,364,943
🇸🇰 Slovakia3/23/2024Executive5,795,199
🇫🇮 Finland1/28/2024Executive5,545,475
🇲🇷 Mauritania6/22/2024Executive4,862,989
🇵🇦 Panama5/5/2024Executive & Legislative4,468,087
🇭🇷 Croatia9/22/2024Executive & Legislative4,008,617
🇬🇪 Georgia10/26/2024Executive & Legislative3,728,282
🇲🇳 Mongolia6/28/2024Legislative3,447,157
🇲🇩 MoldovaN/AExecutive3,435,931
🇺🇾 Uruguay10/27/2024Executive & Legislative3,423,108
🇱🇹 Lithuania5/12/2024Executive & Legislative2,718,352
🇧🇼 BotswanaN/ALegislative2,675,352
🇳🇦 NamibiaN/AExecutive & Legislative2,604,172
🇬🇼 Guinea BissauN/AExecutive2,150,842
🇲🇰 North Macedonia5/8/2024Executive & Legislative2,085,679
🇲🇺 Mauritius11/30/2024Legislative1300557
🇰🇲 Comoros1/14/2024Executive852,075
🇧🇹 Bhutan1/9/2024Legislative787,424
🇸🇧 Solomon Islands4/17/2024Legislative740,424
🇲🇻 Maldives3/17/2024Legislative521,021
🇮🇸 Iceland6/1/2024Executive375,318
🇰🇮 KiribatiN/AExecutive & Legislative133,515
🇸🇲 San MarinoN/ALegislative33,642
🇵🇼 Palau11/12/2024Executive & Legislative18,058
🇹🇻 Tuvalu1/26/2024Legislative11,396

A few notable elections have already occurred. Taiwan held general elections on January 13th, with the more anti-China Democratic Progressive Party retaining the presidency but losing its majority in the legislature.

Pakistan also held elections on February 8th, with former Prime Minster Imran Khan’s party and affiliates winning a plurality of seats but losing power to a military-backed coalition.

Pakistan’s election results were cast into doubt by foreign observers and media, with Khan having been arrested and sentenced to prison on corruption charges. It is far from the only country holding controversial and potentially undemocratic elections in 2024.

Bangladesh’s landslide January 7th elections were boycotted by the opposition and voters, and Russia’s March 15th elections had three anti-war presidential candidates barred from competing, including Alexei Navalny before his controversial death in February.

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