Following our post on the dominance of fake news over the truth, we will share stats from another study, the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual trust and credibility survey that’s been running for 18 years. The results largely corroborate what the previous story revealed and sheds light on the repercussions.
To give you a quick idea about the previous study. A group of researchers at MIT looked at more than a hundred thousand rumour cascades on Twitter and compared their performance to truthful tweets. They found that the truth does not stand a chance; fake news spread faster and further in every topic they studied.
Now the Edelman report revealed that the ascendancy of fake news is having severe implications on people’s faith in the media: In 22 out of the 28 countries they surveyed, trust in the media fell below 50%.
The report bases its conclusions on answers from 33 thousand respondents. Here’s what they learned from it:
The study also gleans an interesting insight: the confusion regarding the credibility of news probably stems from people’s broad definition of what constitutes the media, with some including platforms in the media:
In previous surveys, trust has moved largely in tandem in different countries, but for the first time ever the study found that there is a distinct split between trust gainers and losers. The US for instance witnessed a hard decline in trust – a 37-point aggregate drop across all institutions – whereas China experienced a 27-point gain. Those two countries represented the two ends of the spectrum.
While trust in media witnessed a historic fall, people’s opinion of journalists rose substantially. A number of factors are driving this paradox. This trend also extended to what the report calls “voices of expertise”.
On the other hand, the credibility of peers dropped for the first time in 7 years, losing six points to 54%.
Finally, NGOs also seemed to suffer: trust in NGOs dropped by three points globally. This may be driven by a lack of transparency or action.