Ipsos and The Trust Project identified four major factors impacting the future of truth and trust in the media.
During a scenario-planning exercise conducted with publishers from The Trust Project’s global partners, the group highlighted: a struggling business model, disinformation, technology that is changing how we get our news, and nativist and populist beliefs, much of that boiled down to a central question of access to quality sources.
A chief concern in the group was the spread of so-called fake news, which really is better called disinformation. It is truly viral content in that it spreads quickly — six times faster than truth, according to a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — and can cause varying degrees of harm to the body politic.
Disinformation itself is a problem, but so too is the ability of people to discern truth from fiction. People are far more confident they can spot fake news than they are that their neighbor can, according to a two-part Ipsos Global Advisor survey, the results of which were published in a report called, “Trust Misplaced? A Report from Ipsos and The Trust Project on the Future of Trust in Media.” In every region, it’s a fairly consistent two-to-one margin of self-confidence.
News consumers are faced with an onslaught of media. Most reported getting news from a wide range of media types at least three to five times a week. In most countries, majorities said they get news from television and social media daily. Not all of that is quality news reported by professional journalists working for reputable outlets.
The ability to sift through all of this and find the truth is hard on a good day. Add in the fake news, outright propaganda campaigns from other nations and a rising chorus of “trust no one” voices and it’s easy to see how our foundational institutions can start failing in their missions to inform and educate.
So how can the media and the tech platforms on which they get much of their news teach people to place their trust in truth-telling platforms? That’s one problem The Trust Project is working to solve with its established Trust Indicators.
More broadly, it’s a conversation we should all be having because truth impacts how we all tell our stories, be they personally, as media organizations, or as brands.