Trust Issues: Search Engines More Credible Than Traditional Media?

News and information consumption patterns have drastically changed in the past few years, and now it seems that so has the public’s trust.
Edelman Trust Barometer
Search engines have become the most trusted source of news and information, overtaking traditional media according to PR firm Edelman. This trust in digital media is even more pronounced in Millenials, according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer.
It’s curious to see people’s growing trust in search engines, especially since they merely aggregate content developed by other sites. Putting your trust in a search engine is merely trusting a complex algorithm, which throws up a wide range of stories it deems relevant.
So far no theory has been put forward explaining why people’s trust in the aggregator has exceeded that of the source. However, two things can be taken away from the report – users are getting news from more than one source, but search engines are excessively in control of the information that’s shown.
Further, in a country like India where the traditional media resorts to making a mockery of even hard pressed issues, it’s no wonder that people are losing trust in them. With leading media houses in the country giving in to the lure of sensational news to drive TRP and clicks, it’s not rocket science to see why Indian audiences are increasingly driving traffic on foreign sites.
While traditional media has lost out to search engines, it still is a more trusted source than social media. However, the report suggests that user trust in the latter is quickly rising, which unsurprisingly goes hand in hand with the growth of referral traffic sites like Facebook and Twitter are pushing.

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