Why do so Many People Not Trust AI-Generated Content?

The explosive arrival of generative AI caught much of the world completely off guard. Instantly adopted by millions of businesses and marketers as a game-changing productivity tool, the potential for AI to replace (or at least reduce the requirement for) human content creation seemed huge.

Not to mention, a no-brainer for anyone looking to make savvier spending decisions going forward.

Between 2022 and 2023, there was an increase of around 550% in the number of articles and guides appearing online about generative AI. The world was taking note of this seemingly seismic shift at a near unprecedented rate, including the social media marketing community.

Today, it’s pretty clear that more businesses than ever before have every intention of leveraging the benefits of AI over the next 12 months.  A sizeable majority of businesses have indicated their intent to double or even triple their use of AI, spanning everything from our customer support to the creation and manipulation of images.

But while all this has been going on, the general public has not necessarily been warming to the idea of AI and AI-generated content on the same level as businesses and marketers.  The result of the recent Hootsuite Social Media Consumer 2024 Survey suggests that opinions differ from one demographic to the next, but that trust remains a major issue for those aware of the drive towards an AI-powered web.

Drawing the Line

For example, the study – which took into account the views of more than 4,400 people – found that Gen Z is most confident in its capacity to correctly identify AI-generated content better than other age groups.  This was also the group that demonstrated the most trust in AI content and willingness to engage with it.

By contrast, sentiments among Boomers were quite the opposite – a demographic far less likely to be able to spot AI content, and significantly less likely to trust it.

Either way, it’s becoming clear that the use of AI is going nowhere but up – both on social media and elsewhere. This makes now the opportune moment for marketers and businesses to consider carefully what matters most to their audiences, rather than simply going what makes better economic sense for them.

Widespread Mistrust

As things stand right now, we're far from reaching a point where people in general are willing to accept and appreciate AI content for what it is. Quite the contrary, as the same Hootsuite survey found that across all age groups, 62% of people are less likely to trust and engage with content they suspect was created by a machine.

This would therefore suggest that businesses and marketers intent on relying heavily or primarily on AI will need to look extremely carefully at the quality and value of their output, along with how it is received by their target audience.

Human content creation and engagement is the very definition of ‘authenticity’ in the eyes of most consumers, hence the low 38% of people who say they confidently trust AI-generated content.