Monday 20 May 2019

Trust in 'news' on Facebook has plummeted

Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Irish people are turning away from Facebook for news, according to a major international study.

Some European countries, including Ireland, are using Facebook less as an information source amid fears of the proliferation of "fake news", says the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism report.

Instead, when they want to share news digitally, people are using messaging apps such as WhatsApp when they spot a news story online.

In Ireland, the number of people using Facebook as a news source has fallen by 7.5pc. In the US, it has fallen 18pc amid controversy over the social network's perceived role in the election of President Donald Trump.

The study, conducted among 74,000 people, also found the average level of trust in the news is now modest at 44pc.

Just over half say they trust the news media they themselves use most of the time, but less than quarter trust news they find in social media.

Some 54pc say they are "concerned" about what is real and fake on the internet.

However, three-quarters of us say publishers and platforms have the biggest responsibility to fix problems of fake and unreliable news.

"This is because much of the news they complain about relates to biased or inaccurate news from the mainstream media rather than news that is completely made up or distributed by foreign powers," says the report.

It also measured the most and least trusted news brands in several markets.

In Ireland, the four most trusted brands are RTÉ, the BBC, the Irish Independent and the 'Irish Times'.

The least trusted of Ireland's news brands, the Reuters report found, are primarily online-only news sources.

In all, "brands with a broadcasting background and long heritage tend to be trusted most, with popular newspapers and digital-born brands trusted least".

Newspaper readers are perceived to have "higher levels of news literacy" over those who choose television and social media, using such forums "very differently from the wider population".

Irish Independent

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