Belgians continue to lose trust in Twitter and Facebook as news sources

Kantar survey shows trust gap between social media platforms and traditional media is growing

Belgians trust the news they receive from traditional media increasingly more compared to social media platforms, according to a survey by Kantar in which 3,000 Belgians allocated trust scores to 39 news outlets. Traditional media received an average score of 8.31 out of 10, while social media scored 6.19 out of 10 on average. These figures show the trust gap between both types of media is growing. Another noteworthy finding was that 18 to 34-year-olds are losing trust in social media as a news source more often than other generations.

Kantar — the global market leader in data, insights and consultancy — recently organised the second edition of its survey looking into the extent to which Belgians trust their daily sources of news. The first thing that stands out in the rankings is that social media platforms Twitter and Facebook come bottom with scores of 6 and 5.67 out of 10 respectively. The sources Belgian news consumers trust the most are business newspapers De Tijd and L’Echo, which ranked first and second respectively with scores of 8.73 and 8.51 out of 10. VRT

NWS claimed third place with 8.21 out of 10. The survey showed that, aside from a keen eye for newsworthiness, the main thing news media need to be able to do gain the trust of Belgian readers is provide accurate facts and context.

“We are extremely proud of these results. In times when fake news and a lack of reliable

information are rife, De Tijd and L’Echo help guide their readers through a changing world. With our high-quality and independent editorial approach, Mediafin has etched out a unique position on the Belgian market, and this survey proves our readers genuinely appreciate that.” Peter Quaghebeur, CEO of Mediafin (publisher of De Tijd and L’Echo)

Younger generation also increasingly critical

The younger generation (18 to 34) continue to trust the news they read on social media platforms more than the older generation (55+). That said, trust in social media platforms is falling among younger people too. The trust score Belgians between the ages of 18 and 34 give social media has dropped by 7% compared to the previous study in 2018. Their trust score in social media now stands at 5.45 out of 10, compared to 7 out of 10 for traditional media.

The younger generation has grown up with social media platforms. From that perspective, it comes as no surprise that their trust levels are higher than among older generations. Regardless, this survey shows that 18 to 34-year-olds are taking an increasingly critical approach to the news presented to them on social media. In other words, the quality of a news brand increasingly plays an important role in trust levels among younger people too. Jelle Van Loon, Senior Research Manager at Kantar

Trust in advertising

The trust readers place in traditional media comes as good news for the revenue model behind these media. Traditional media have been facing an uphill struggle against the advertising models of social media platforms for some time, with the latter having a major advantage in the volume of potential readers. In its survey, Kantar also

established a clear connection between the trust people place in the media they use and the ads that appear via these media. Traditional media were given higher trust scores for their advertising than the ads that appear on social media platforms. In that respect, the quality of the publisher takes precedence over readership volumes — a finding that constitutes a significant argument for news brands to persuade advertisers.

About the survey
The survey was carried out by the Kantar research agency and commissioned by Trustmedia Beyond Advertising. A total of 2,980 Belgians completed an online questionnaire between 23/04/2021 and 10/05/2021. The respondents were all over the age of 18 and were selected based on age, gender and regional quota