Study: Social Media Is “Deeply Distrusted” By Australians

Study: Social Media Is “Deeply Distrusted” By Australians
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Australians distrust social media more than any other media category, a new survey has revealed.

Roy Morgan’s the MEDIA Net Trust Score Survey has revealed that social media is deeply distrusted with almost half of all Australians (47 per cent) distrusting social media, compared to only four per cent who distrust magazines, as an example.

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

According to survey respondents, their top five drivers of distrust in social media are:

  1. Fake News / manipulation of the truth
  2. False statistics / audience measurement
  3. Personal information stolen & distributed
  4. Anyone can make claims without any evidence
  5. News is sensationalised / becomes entertainment

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”.

“Distrust is where our deepest fears, pain, and betrayal surface – the shock of discovering we were foolish to trust too much,” she said.

“And nowhere is that sense of betrayal more profound than with social media.

“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.”

According to Levine:

  • Distrust triggers audience churn
  • Distrust kills audience engagement
  • Distrust kills advertiser spend
  • Distrust is the tipping point for reputational damage
  • Distrust is the bellwether for an unsustainable future

“The real picture is revealed only when distrust is subtracted from trust to reveal a Net Trust Score or NTS,” she said.

“Social media’s trust score is five per cent, however, it’s distrust score is 47 per cent.

“So, when we subtract one from the other we reveal a social media NTS of minus 42 per cent, making it more toxic even than the banking industry,” she said.

“We have also conducted four surveys of all brands, and they reveal the banking industry as the worst performer with an NTS of minus 18 per cent, compared to the media industry with an NTS of minus seven per cent.

“But even the banks’ negative NTS is low compared to social media. This is where we get a powerful sense of how toxic social media in Australia really is,” Levine said.

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