Trust in News on Social Media

Monday 1 October 2018
Organisers or author: 
Hendrik Heuer, Andreas Breiter

Full paper.

This paper investigates trust in news on a social media platform. The paper is motivated by the finding that social media is the primary news source for a large group of people, especially young adults. Considering the challenges posed by online misinformation and fake news, an understanding of how users quantify trust in news and what factors influence this trust is needed. In a study with 108 participants, German high-school students provided trust ratings for online news including quality media and fake news. The study shows that users can quantify their trust in news items and that these trust ratings correspond to rankings of the sources by experts. The paper finds that psychometric scales that measure interpersonal trust are predictive of a user’s mean trust rating across different news items. We show how this can be used to provide interventions for those prone to false trust and false distrust.