Influencers are among least trusted sources for product recommendations

The majority of internet users are losing confidence in the accuracy of information they read and see online. Just 8% believe that three-quarters of information on social media is true, according to a new survey among 56,000 Internet users across 81 countries by media agency UM.

Even fewer users (4%) trust influencers such as celebrities and bloggers. Government information (12%) tends to be trusted slightly more. However, this does depend on the country with US information being trusted less (6%) than the UK (8%).

“The research highlights how headlines over the past two years have made people more aware of issues surrounding credibility and transparency on the internet. This is particularly the case with social media – scandals like Cambridge Analytica have had a huge impact on the extent to which people question what they see and hear online,” explained Liz Haas, head of client insight EMEA at UM.

In the UK, 54% of Internet users consider news online to be fake, compared to 46%, highlighting a generally higher level of distrust.

Fewer UK users (44%) also said they were influenced by information and opinions shared online compared to the worldwide average of 46%.

Meanwhile, just 36% of UK users trust blogger opinions on products and services compared to 42% globally.

“Legislation like the EU’s GDPR is working towards rebuilding that trust, particularly regarding what is done with our personal data, but brands will also have a key role to play over the coming years. It’s clear that trust is fast becoming the currency of the new internet, and brands able to demonstrate that they’re transparent and responsible in the moments that matter are going to be best placed to succeed,” Haas added.

At the same time, people are beginning to worry less about whether they may be missing out when not visiting their social media network of choice (46%) in 2018 compared to 2017 (50%).