‘Who shared it?’: How Americans decide what news to trust on social media

Tom Rosenstiel, et.al., Amercial Press Institute, Mar 30, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

According to this report (13 page PDF) "when Americans encounter news on social media, how much they trust the content is determined less by who creates the news than by who shares it." How much they engage with it (for example, by passing it along) also depends more on who shares it. This runs counter to those saying it is the authority of the source that matters. This means that "Your readers and followers are not just consumers to monetize, instead they may be social ambassadors whose own credibility with their friends affects your brand’s reputation." True enough. When I read this, I ask, why do people place trust in individuals who share the news - is it that they can be relied on to have a point of view? or perhaps they are trusted to assess the news critically? or maybe they just have good sources themselves?

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