Trust in media

Research reveals: In era of fake news - trust in social remains, provided it's personal


We've recently undertaken research, which reveals that social media platforms are still accessed multiple times a day, despite recent data privacy scandals.

We conducted the research in order to better understand the role social media and more traditional media channels play in our lives. With trust in both social and traditional media at an all time low, where do consumers turn for reliable recommendations, news or insight?

Social media platforms are still accessed frequently according to the research, with stats revealing the high percentage of users who access the following sites at least once a day: Facebook 70%, WhatsApp 49%, YouTube 55%, Twitter 36%, Instagram 32% Snapchat 22% and relative newcomer Vero trailing at only 9%.

Of these respondents a high number are heavy users who access the apps over six times a day: Facebook 32%, WhatsApp 24%, Snapchat 15%, YouTube 14%, Twitter 14%, Snapchat 10%, Vero 5%.

The research highlighted that whilst there is a trend for social media giants to add eCommerce capabilities, the truth is that their original purpose of enabling communications between friends remains their most compelling. Of respondents who use the channels 50% of Facebook, 42% of Snapchat and 31% of Instagram users cited catching up with friends as their main purpose for using the channel.

Email however seems to be going through a change. It is still a heavily used channel with 91% of respondents using it at least once a day, and of these 47% more than six times a day. However its use seems to be diverging by demographic. Only 10% of the under 34s use email primarily for catching up with friends (vs. 24% using Snapchat and 51% using Facebook for the same purpose), compared with 55% of the 34-54's.

And what about the death of TV news? According to the research television news is still very popular, with 65% of respondents watching it at least once a day, and 10% over six times a day. These results supporting Edelman’s recent Trust Barometer Report, in reference to their statement that ‘more established news media have enjoyed a very significant increase in public support’. Surprisingly, interest in TV news reduces with age with 46% of respondents aged 18-34 watching at least once a day, 36% of those aged 35-44, 30% aged 45-54 and 30% of those aged 55 and over.

Despite recent ‘fake news’ concerns, the research also reveals that Twitter has become a prominent source of news with one in eight of all user respondents (13%) stating that this is their main purpose for using the platform.

Other key findings that highlight the main purpose for these channels:

  • 48% of the 18-25 year olds never watch the news, in contrast 15% of this age group use Twitter as their main source of news
  • Facebook: Despite conflicting reports that it has fallen out of favour, the research reveals it is still the most popular social media platform. Usage peaks with the younger age group, with high numbers using it at least once every day: 80% aged 18-24, 80% aged 25-44, 70% aged 45-54 and 58% aged 55+
  • Snapchat: Strongly favoured by the younger age group with 66% of respondents aged 18-24 using it at least once a day compared to 32% aged 25-44 and 10% of age 44+
  • Instagram: Also preferred by the younger age group with 69% of respondents aged 18-24 using it at least once a day, 48% of those aged 25-44 and 18% of those aged 45+
  • Linkedin: Popularity drops off with age with 27% of users aged 34 and under using it at least once a day, compared with 21% aged 35-54, and only 9% of those users aged over 55

"Sharing with friends via digital channels is really important for us as a referral platform and this research reflects what we are seeing day to day. Social media has an important role to play, but the power of channels such as email can’t be ignored either. The demographic nuances of this data highlights the importance for brands of choosing the right social channels for their refer-a-friend programmes and other marketing campaigns”, comments Courtney Wylie, VP of Product and Marketing at Mention Me.


Mention Me partnered with One Poll for this survey, who questioned 2,000 UK consumers. The survey was completed in March 2018.

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