News and Misinformation Consumption in Europe: Conclusions and References

7 Jun 2024


(1) Anees Baqir, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy;

(2) Alessandro Galeazzi, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy;

(3) Fabiana Zollo, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy and The New Institute Centre for Environmental Humanities, Italy.

4. Conclusions

In this study, we have delved into the evolving dynamics of news production and consumption within the European context. We examined the consumption of Twitter content produced by news outlets in France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, providing a cross-country and cross-topic comparison

Figure 5: Analysis of user content consumption where each histogram represents the user count versus the fraction of news from potentially questionable sources, ranging from entirely reliable (0) to entirely questionable (1). A dominant presence near lower fractions suggests a prevalent reliance on reliable sources. In contrast, significant increases near the higher end highlight segments influenced by questionable content.

of the online public discourse. We identified topics debated across all four countries and highlighted differences and similarities in consumption patterns. Additionally, we constructed networks based on the similarities among news outlets’ audiences, revealing the presence of groups of users engaging with sources of different reliability.

Our findings indicated that reliable sources dominate the information landscape, but users consuming content mainly or exclusively from questionable news outlets were often present. However, the size and importance of such groups vary based on the topic and the country under consideration. Furthermore, our cross-country comparison has revealed variations in the structure of news sources’ similarity networks. While some countries exhibited a clearer separation between clusters of questionable sources and reliable sources, others showed a more heterogeneous situation with less detectable differences in cluster composition. However, the connectedness of the networks and users’ behavior analysis indicated the presence of a small fraction of users with a mixed news diet in all countries.

Our results emphasized the differences and similarities in news consumption patterns across countries in relation to globally significant subjects. Understanding the dynamic of news consumption and its dependence on factors such as the topic or country can provide valuable insights into the development of effective countermeasures to mitigate the spread of misinformation and disinformation. Monitoring the information landscape at both national and European levels is indeed crucial to understanding the state of public discourse on contentious topics and developing tailored cohesive strategies to improve the health of information ecosystems.


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