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Online surveys show we don't trust social media - but why?

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Can we - and do we - trust social media? Online surveys in the UK reveal only one in four of us do. But why is that, and does it really matter?

The annual Edelman Trust Barometer was reviewed earlier this year, and the online surveys revealed not only that 3 out of 4 Brits distrust social media, but that they majority of us would like to see tougher regulations on social platforms.

Anti-social media? Surveys for money say what we think

The online surveys sampled 3,000 people in the UK, and found that two thirds of us think that Facebook, Twitter and other platforms are not doing enough to prevent unethical behaviour – such as cyber bullying and the spread of extremism.

Interestingly, the surveys for money showed that 64% of us think social media isn’t properly regulated, and 63% think social media companies lack transparency.

62% of us think they sell our personal data without our knowledge, and well over half of online survey respondents said they worry about fake news spreading on social media sites. 63% also said they couldn’t easily distinguish between factual journalism and fake news when they came into contact with it online.

Do the online survey results matter?

You could say that a natural cynicism of social media is healthy. It stops us believing all we read, and reminds us that what we see online isn’t necessarily a reflection of ‘real’ life.

The distrust of social media and dislike of over-advertising, after all, did convince Facebook to change their algorithm to make the news feed less focused on adverts and more on content from your friends. That’s surely a win from a user’s point of view.

Another positive outcome from the online survey results was that traditional journalism enjoyed a rebound in public confidence - up to a record high of 61% approval. With newspapers struggling, and large numbers of people distrusting online news, this is good news for real news.

Yes, fake news is a concern. It can help to sway elections and produce the sort of gossip and propaganda that is not worth our precious time in consuming. It threatens real journalism and it threatens democracy. The fact that we are online-savvy may well help to combat this though.

But what is the outlook for Facebook and other social media brands? We still use them, even though we distrust them. Surveys for money say we skim-read them, and still devour the content even though we say we think they may be selling our data. All we can really do is to hold them to account, and treat what we see online with caution.

Failing that, we need to vote with our feet. Or should that be fingers.

What do you think about the online survey results? Do you agree with the outcome of the paid surveys? Do you love or loathe social media? Have your say on our Facebook page. Love sharing your thoughts? Get involved and take paid surveys for cash, and enjoy online surveys for money and vouchers at Opinion Outpost UK.

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