US Adults Lack Confidence in Social Networking Platforms

January 9, 2017

Trust in the news media has plunged to new lows this year, but even the news media fares better than leading social networking platforms in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 adults. Fewer than 1 in 6 respondents professed to having “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence in online social networking platforms such as Facebook (15%) and Twitter (13%).

Indeed, these platforms fared better than only health insurance companies (12%) among the list of 20 institutions measured.

These results follow research from YouGov suggesting that Americans trust news more when it appears in print or on TV than when they read it online.

Returning to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, it’s clear that adults have more confidence in small businesses than in large corporations. Indeed, while 2 in 3 respondents reported at least “quite a bit” of confidence in small businesses, only 15% could say the same about large corporations. That aligns with Edelman research indicating that informed publics in developed countries are far more likely to trust family-owned businesses (72%) than big business (45%).

Among the industries measured for the survey, the high-tech industry picked up the best ratings, with 45% reporting at least “quite a bit” of confidence – supported by Gallup research into perceptions of various industries. The financial industry, meanwhile, gained that level of trust from just 19% of adults surveyed, though even that was slightly ahead of the entertainment industry (15%).

About the Data: The survey was fielded in December 2016 among 1,000 US adults aged 18 and older.

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