Search Engines Surpass Traditional Media as Most Trusted News Source
As search engines become more powerful, more and more people have begun ditching antiquated forms of media in favor of their more modern, digital counterparts. As revealed in a survey released by public relations firm Edelman, search engines have eclipsed traditional media to become the primary and most trusted news source.
Although not named specifically in the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, Google would certainly be considered as the definitive benchmark when categorizing search engines as a primary news source. [See Figure 1 below]
Although there was just a 2% difference among those who said that they trusted search engines over traditional media, a breakdown of demographics showed a different story. Particularly, more Millennials were turning to search engines for their news, with an 8% difference over those that still use traditional media. While it could be argued that search engines are not necessarily news sources but rather aggregators, they are able to offer the news from various points of view, and give the public a platform to opine on what they’ve read.
Surprisingly, the Edelman survey also saw that despite the reaches of sites like Facebook and Twitter, only 59% of respondents were likely to trust social media as their primary news source. However, as there are often fabricated news stories that find their way onto social media (something that Facebook is actively addressing), this lower than expected percentage does not seem that hard to believe.
The findings of Edelman’s survey stand out for two reasons. According to the firm, their Trust Barometer study has been going on for 15 years, and 2015 was the first time search engines were hailed as being trusted more than traditional media for the news. Edelman saw that engagement with the audience now carried a lot more weight in building trust with the public, which is something that traditional media has often been criticized of being unable to do.
With a “vastly different” media landscape, the firm notes that people are more likely to trust and believe posts coming from friends, family, and academics over a company CEO or elected official. Digital media has always been about going beyond the boundaries reached by traditional media, showing that people today are more likely to resonate with a medium that makes everyone and everything more accessible.
The Edelman survey consisted of 27,000 people from different countries.
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