Facebook Survey: More than 50% of users don’t trust news on the social network

Facebook tries to stop “fake news” by surveying its own users

Facebook is surveying its own users to try and stop the spread of “fake news” on its social media platform. The new survey asks two questions:

  1. Do you recognize the following websites?
  2. How much do you trust each of these domains?

The “fake news” phenomenon is a cybersecurity issue that we predict will be relevant in 2018 and beyond, since social media platforms are used to sway public opinion. As reported by the New York Times, social media companies provided evidence to Congress that Russian influence might have reached 126 million Americans on Facebook and other platforms during the 2016 elections.

Social media critics are questioning whether Facebook’s own users should be trusted to determine which news outlets are “fake news”. In fact, when it comes to domain trust, Facebook itself faces skepticism. A recent Panda Security survey showed that 47 percent of parents consider Facebook “unsafe” for their children to use.

Panda Security has conducted an additional survey using Google Surveys to see how much consumers trust Facebook as a gatekeeper of news and information on their newsfeeds.

We asked a weighted sample of 765 online users in the United States: “How much do you trust Facebook to choose what news you read?”

  • 8.2 percent said “A lot” or “Entirely”
  • 20.4 percent said “Somewhat”
  • 20.0 percent said “Barely”
  • 51.5 percent said “Not at all”

The data shows almost three-quarters of respondents have little confidence in Facebook’s ability as a news gatekeeper, with a minority of respondents indicating high levels of trust.

Looking at the data by gender, male survey respondents were more likely to distrust Facebook than female survey respondents. While 73.4 percent of males said they “Barely” trust Facebook or trusted it “Not at all”, 69.7 percent of females said the same.

A larger percentage of males also said they trusted Facebook “A lot” or “Entirely”: 8.9 percent of males versus 7.4 percent of females.

Trust among age groups was fairly consistent. While 49.1 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 answered “Not at all” with respect to level of trust, 56.9 percent of respondents aged 35 to 54 answered the same. Among respondents aged 55 and older, 51.5 percent answered “Not at all”.

Methodology

The Facebook Trust Survey was written by Panda Security and conducted using Google Surveys. The survey collected responses from 1,015 online users in the United States from January 25 to 27, 2018. Responses were matched down to a weighted sample (by age, gender, and geographic distribution) of 765 to produce the final results.

The following methodology description is provided by Google Surveys: Google Surveys shows questions across a network of premium online news, reference, and entertainment sites (where surveys are embedded directly in the content), as well as through a mobile app, Google Opinion Rewards. On the web, users answer questions in exchange for access to the content, an alternative to subscribing or upgrading. The user’s gender, age, and geographic location are inferred based on anonymous browsing history and IP address. On the mobile app, users answer questions in exchange for credits for books, music, and apps, and users answer demographic questions when first downloading the app. Using this data, Google Surveys can automatically build a representative sample of thousands of respondents. For more detailed information, see the whitepaper.

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