Instagram and other social media apps - Photo courtesy of Jason Howie - Flickr Instagram and other social media apps - Photo courtesy of Jason Howie - Flickr

Media literacy: More than half of the world does not trust social media

Sun, Sep. 23, 2018
CAIRO – 23 September 2018: According to a study published by Reuters Institute Digital News Saturday, there is a notable decrease in the use of social media as a credible news source in 37 countries around the world.

More than 54 percent of the subjects of the study are suspicious when it comes to news circulating on the internet, the study confirmed.

The study stated that rates of decreasing the use of social media as a reliable news source came as follows: 85 percent for Brazil, 69 percent for Spain, and 64 percent for the USA.

The study illustrates a worldwide research that took into consideration 24 countries in three continents: 11 countries in Europe, 6 in North and South America, and 7 countries from Asia.

Moreover, the research was conducted by You Gov using multiple online questionnaires, which took into consideration multiple factors, including gender, age, and region.

The research showed that 44 percent of the study subjects trust news “overall”, while 51 percent only trust news “they use”. Meanwhile, 34 percent said that they trust news in search engines, and only 23 percent trust news in social networking websites.

This in fact reflects their bad experience with fake news published on different social media platforms such as Facebok and Twitter, and which can definitely lead to “confusion, greater skepticism, and ultimately to lack of trust,” according to the research.

The report also tackled consumers’ opinions on the news that are being published by different media outlets, as they showed their concern about its credibility and objectivity.

Consequently, the study concluded that there are two main factors that challenge and affect news transparency.

Firstly, it showed that the political climate and oppression badly affect news credibility, especially when dealing with news circulating within authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. The second challenge is economic, which basically impulses different news sources to be biased as they are not independent.

Hence, more than half of media consumers are sophisticated enough to differentiate between fake and real news, so they prefer to follow up particular media outlets which had long, clean, and objective history, according to the results of the study.

Furthermore, the study revealed that some consumers prefer receiving news feed through applications on their smart phones (ios/android/windows) or through e-mails.

However, 37 percent of the study subjects say that “nothing will persuade them to sign up” for newsletter, 18 percent will be encouraged if they “can control the number received”, and 16 percent would like to reduce duplicated news from different providers, according to the research results.

The decrease of the percentage of those who trust social media came particularly after Facebook’s latest privacy concerns, which in turn made it difficult to retain its ranking as a reliable news source.
 
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