This is a world now teeming with #FakeNews thanks to a politician who shall remain nameless.
But at the same time, the majority of people still use social media as a news source.
So then who do you trust?
A recent analysis, called the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer indicates that the credibility of a source is once again related to their knowledgeability. In other words, technical and academic experts are considered more credible than celebrities… Which is good given that some celebrities are shilling putting rocks up your vagina (just don’t), spreading anti-vaccination propaganda, and promoting absurd beliefs like the earth is flat.
Though social media is used for news acquisition, another piece of good news is that trust in journalism is increasing. Social media has a lot of potential for getting immediate and breaking news, but misinformation is also rampant. Just take for example misinformation that spread across social media during the Boston marathon bombing. Frankly, it begs the question who would actually want to misinform people during a crisis or emergency, but it happens frequently enough that people are starting to value journalistic habits of fact checking again.
So the good news is that people want to give voice to credible sources – the academics, the technical experts, the journalists – and that more and more of us are putting our trust behind those experts. If you’re not sure who a credible and trustworthy source is, you should consider things like transparency (like links to sources), expertise (not just for a quote, but of the author too), and the motivation behind the info (partisan or not).
If you’d like to learn more about trustworthy sources, and how to assess credibility, we recommend the following resources:
Let’s all stop the spread of misinformation, and use the power of social media for good!