Edelman: UK Public Trust in Traditional Media Rises Sharply

Trust in traditional media, publishers and broadcasters, in the UK has rebounded sharply over the past year, reaching its highest level in six years, while trust in social media platforms and search engines has dropped, the Edelman Trust Barometer 2018 has found.  

Published earlier this week, the global report found that trust in broadcasters and publishers in the UK has increased 13 points to 61 per cent, its highest level in six years since 2012, while trust in social media platforms has dropped to just 24 per cent.

Trust in journalists in the UK has increased 13 points from 19 per cent to 32 per cent, the report found, with the credibility of journalists rising substantially worldwide and higher levels of trust being placed in them than the platforms.

Responding to the report, Steve Rubel, Edelman’s chief content strategist said: “Journalists and employees in particular have a tremendous opportunity to ensure greater information quality and a greater exposure to facts. If the institutions they work for can enable them, it can stem the tide of misinformation that is a threat to our modern way of life. And that should leave us hopeful.”

Sixty-four per cent of people in the UK back tougher regulation of social media companies while 53 per cent of people worry about being exposed to fake news on social media. Worryingly, 64 per cent can’t distinguish between proper journalism and fake news, the report found.

Young people are switching off from social media, particularly Facebook, but also YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, the report found, and 33 per cent of young people (16-18s) use Facebook less than a year ago and 11 per cent have quit Facebook altogether in the past year.

Seventy per cent of people think social media companies do not do enough to prevent illegal or unethical behaviours on their platforms while 63 per cent think they lack transparency. Sixty-two per cent think they’re selling people’s data without their knowledge.

Commenting on the report, Piers North, Trinity Mirror group digital director, said: “The Edelman report’s swing in trust towards traditional media is striking for the size of the move, but this has been brewing for some time – we have felt the headwinds of change for a while as the public debate shifted over the past year.”