The 2018 Trust Barometer is Edelman’s 18th annual trust and credibility survey, measuring trust across a number of institutions, sectors and geographies. The Trust Barometer surveys more than 33,000 respondents across 28 countries.
This year’s findings reveal a flatline in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs in the UK. Trust in business fell to 43 percent, whilst the other three institutions saw no change at all.
The survey found that social media companies have lost the trust of most of the public, with only a quarter of the UK population now saying that they trust social media as a source for news and information. Where social media companies were once seen as champions of free speech and democracy, they are now seen as not taking enough responsibility for key issues including extremism, fake news, and cyberbullying. As a consequence, the majority of people are now calling for greater regulation in the sector.
Key findings include:
– There has been a huge increase in trust in traditional media (61 percent), reaching levels not seen since 2012. There has also been a rebound in faith in experts and leaders. Despite this, there are big structural issues for media in general, people are consuming less media and some are actively avoiding it altogether (19 percent).
– News rejecters cite the news agenda is too depressing (40 percent), that the news is too biased, and that the news itself is controlled by “hidden agendas”.
– Trust in Government remains very low at 36 percent and the majority feel as though their views are not represented in politics today.
– When looking at the bigger picture, Britain remains subdued with distrust continuing across the board and Britons are becoming more pessimistic about their economic outlook.
– The biggest concerns for the future of Britain include ensuring the NHS is able to provide care for an ageing and growing population (79 percent) and the worry of rising political or religious extremism (72 percent).
– There is little hope for the immediate future as only 20 percent feel their standard of living will improve in 2018 and 36 percent expect it to worsen.
– However, an opportunity lies with business to fill the gap where others are falling short. Particularly if there is a focus on reputational drags like executive pay and tax, and considering rising trust in CEOs.