Technology

Only one in four Britons trust news on social media: survey

From playing a major role in deciding the future of democracies to deciding the fate of presidential contenders, social media has played a pivotal role but it seems as if its days are numbered.
According to a recent survey, only one in four Britons trust news on social media. The days when social media was considered as an enabler of citizen journalists and for its role in the Arab Spring have passed, suggests the 18th annual survey of the Edelman Trust barometer, The Guardian reported.
Fake news and concerns about cyberbullying, extremist propaganda and the effects of social media on children has considerably affected its credibility.
The survey found that support for traditional media has increased by 13 points to reach 61 per cent the highest level since 2012. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May has talked of the “additional concerns and challenges” posed to young people by social media.
UK’s Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has also warned companies they could face sanctions unless they did more to tackle sexting, cyberbullying, and the abuse of young users.
A statement from head of Apple, Tim Cook, who said last week that he did not want his nephew on a social network, and another one from the former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya who said: “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” raises serious concerns on the longstanding impacts of social media.
According to the Edelman trust barometer survey, 64pc of 1,050 UK respondents expressed concern over lack of regulation in the social media sector. 69pc agreed that they did not do enough to prevent bullying and 70pc that there was insufficient action to stop illegal or unethical behaviour on networks.
Abuse has almost become a given for social media users. From politicians to celebrities to just about anyone expressing an opinion online, no one is safe from receiving abuse in the virtual world.
Daisy Ridley, Sam Smith and Stephen Fry are among the celebrities who have temporarily or permanently quit social media networks in response to online slurs. Singer Ed Sheeran said last year that he had stopped reading tweets due to negativity.
With fake news all over the internet, 53pc of people polled said they worried about being exposed to it on social media.
The fear of fake news is very likely to be the reason behind the increased support for traditional media. 42pc of the respondents said they only skimmed headlines on social media but did not click on the content.