Trust in ‘news’ on Facebook has plum­meted

Irish Independent - - News - Adrian Weck­ler Tech­nol­ogy Editor

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”.

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