Australians distrust social media

Headed by Facebook.

In what is probably not surprising, Australians have a strong distrust for Social Media more than any other media category, with Facebook by far the most distrusted media brand.

The MEDIA Net Trust Score Survey conducted in May by Roy Morgan revealed that 47% of Australians distrust social media, compared to only 4% who distrust, for example, magazines.

Young Australians distrust social media the most – 68% of 18 to 24-year-olds, and 53% of 25 to 34-year-olds. Men, at 49% distrust social media marginally more than women, on 45%.

According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, trust is now firmly on corporate Australia’s agenda, “But distrust is the critical measure everyone’s ignoring,” she said. “Australians told us that their distrust of Social Media is being driven by fake news, manipulated truth, false statistics and fake audience measurement. They are feeling the shock of discovering they were foolish to trust the global platforms too much.”

Other drivers of distrust were: Personal information stolen and distributed; anyone can make claims without any evidence; and news is sensationalised and becomes entertainment.

According to Levine, distrust triggers audience churn, kills audience engagement and advertiser spend and is the tipping point for reputational damage. “Distrust is the bellwether for an unsustainable future,” she said, “and the real picture is revealed only when distrust is subtracted from trust to reveal a Net Trust Score, (NTS).”

“Social Media’s trust score is 5%, however, its distrust score is 47%. So, when we subtract one from the other a Social Media NTS of minus 42%, makes it more toxic than the banking industry.”

The survey also revealed that the ABC is by far the nation’s most trusted media organisation with only 9% who distrust the national broadcaster. Television has a NTS of minus 16%; Newspapers minus 13%; the Internet minus 7% and radio minus 2%.

“The absence of the voices of distrust should be alarming every CEO and company director,” Levine said.

After the ABC, SBS is Australia’s second most trusted media brand. Fairfax comes in third as the only other media brand with a positive NTS.

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