REPORT: The sharer brings credibility to news on social media

Picture: untitled by mattysimpson, license CC0 1.0

Trust towards the sharer of a link to a news article matters a lot on social media. A new study from the Media Insight Project, studied how US respondents decide what news to trust. The project is a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago.

The project conducted an experiment and a survey to an online sample 1489 US adults part of a nationally representative survey panel.

Respondents made surprisingly little distinction between known and unknown sources when it comes to trusting and sharing news on social media. 19 percent of of people who viewed a fictional news source would have been willing to recommend it to a friend.

“People who see an article from a trusted sharer but written by an unknown media source have much more trust in the information than people who see the same article from a reputable media source shared by a non-trusted person”, the study states.

The authors note that social media sharers act as ‘unofficial ambassadors’ for the brand, as their credibility can influence readers’ opinions about the source. Facebook and other social networks could also provide more information about the original sources for news articles. Only 20 percent of people in the experiment could recall the source after seeing a social media post.

The study “Who shared it?” is freely available on American Press Institute’s website.

Picture: untitled by mattysimpson, license CC0 1.0

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