Trust in United States institutions sees record drop

Elias Hubbard
January 23, 2018

Social media is trusted by less than a quarter of the United Kingdom population (24 per cent) with a majority of the public also backing tougher regulation for social networks, a new study has found.

He noted that it's the first time that the massive plunge in trust wasn't linked to a faltering economy or catastrophe.

One country where trust is rising is China, which now finds itself atop Edelman's Trust index for both the general population and the 'informed public.' In contrast to the USA, faith in government is leading the overall upward trends.

While the USA experienced a negative 37 percent change in trust, China trust index increased by 27 percent, Axios noted.

Business is now expected to be an agent of change. "For sure, it has been a year of exceptional public opinion volatility", Edelman said.

"China's trust scores are almost matched by India, the UAE, Indonesia and Singapore, while the Western democracies languish mostly in distruster territory, challenging the traditional geopolitical vision of satisfaction with systems", the report said. More than 33,000 respondents consisting of 1, 150 general population respondents aged 18 and over and 500 informed public respondents in the USA and China were polled.

This year also saw a revival of faith in experts and a decline in confidence among peers. "Trust is only going to be regained when the truth moves back to center stage". Media can not do it alone because of political and financial constraints. Institutions must answer the public's call for providing factually accurate, timely information and joining the public debate. "Every institution must contribute to the education of the populace". Financial services (54 percent) was once again the least trusted sector along with consumer packaged goods (60 percent) and automotive (62 percent). At least 89 percent said "journalists", while 48 percent said "social", 40 percent said "brands" and 25 percent said "search".

As per the survey, India was among the six countries with extreme trust losses over the past year which was topped by the US. And almost 7 in 10 of those surveyed said they were anxious about fake news and false information being used as a weapon.

According to the survey, 42 per cent of Britons say they only skim headlines on social media, but do not click on the content. And the majority of respondents believe that news organizations are overly focused on attracting large audiences (66 percent), breaking news (65 percent) and politics (59 percent).

The study found for the first time that the proportion of the United Kingdom population who describe themselves as "informed" - those people who read business and political news "several times a week or more" - has dropped to 6 per cent. The firm was named "2016 Global Agency of the Year" by the Holmes Report, and one of Advertising Age's "Agencies to Watch" in 2014.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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