75% of Brits don’t trust social media

Just one in four Brits trusts social media and users of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter would like to see tighter regulations, according to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer.

Its survey found two-thirds of Britons believe social media sites are not doing enough to prevent illegal behaviour, including extremism. Conversely , faith in traditional journalism rose sharply in the last year. In total, 61 per cent said they trusted traditional media (broadcasters and publishers) –  the highest level since 2012, and 13 percentage points ahead of 2017.

“The public want action on key issues related to online protection, and to see their concerns addressed through better regulation. Failure on their part to act risks further erosion of trust and therefore public support.” said Ed Williams, chief executive of Edelman UK.

More than half of Brits worry about fake news, Edelman said, while 64 per cent said they could not distinguish between proper journalism and fake news.

Edelman’s report follows Facebook’s decision to tweak its algorithm to favour more personal content rather than news, promoting posts from family and friends ahead of those from businesses, brands and media less prominent.

The survey showed:

  • 64 per cent of Brits believe that social media companies are not sufficiently regulated
  • 63 per cent believe they lack transparency
  • 62 per cent believe they are selling people’s data without their knowledge

Williams added: “We are clearly seeing significant changes in people’s news consumption habits. The breadth of information available on the Internet is not resulting in the same depth we once saw. As we look at some of the big problems we face in the 21st century, it should be of significant concern to us all that we are becoming a nation of news-skimmers and news-avoiders. It’s frightening that the professional classes, the people we rely on to take an interest in social affairs and to hold politicians to account, are the most pronounced news avoiders.”

The survey sampled 3,000 respondents in the UK. A third of them were in the 16-18 age group.

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