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Canadians like, but don't trust, social media for news

Thursday, April 11, 2019 4:25:00 PM

A new poll commissioned by The Canadian Journalism Foundation and conducted by Maru/Matchbox shows that while social media is a top news source for both Canadians and Americans, it is among the least trusted source for Canadians.

While social media (such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) is a top news source for 52% of Canadians (alongside news websites) it was also the least trusted, at only 32%. This is especially true for Canadian millennials; social media is the most common (73%) but least trusted news source at 36%.

In the U.S., social media is also one of the top news sources at 48%. However, Americans trust in social media is higher than among Canadians, at 43%. And, in stark contrast to Canadians, trust in social media rises to 60% among American millennials.

"Social media is changing our relationship with the news," says Sara Cappe, Managing Director of Public Affairs for international pollster Maru/Matchbox. "While it has become a common source of news and news-related information, people are less trusting of what they find there. The upside is that many feel more engaged with the news than ever before."

The poll found that both Canadian (53%) and American respondents (54%) believed that "fake news" was most likely to dominate politics, topping other news categories such as entertainment, lifestyle or business. The poll also showed that Americans (51%) are more likely than Canadians (37%) to believe that fake news is easy to spot.

"As citizens, we care about maintaining the integrity of a free press and we're concerned about the impact of 'fake news' in the upcoming U.S. presidential election," says Cappe. "Many Canadians – and Americans – feel that 'fake news' is a significant issue and believe that the situation is most dire in the US."

For this survey, a representative sample of 1,516 Canadians and 1,523 Americans who are members of the Springboard America and Maru Voice Canada panels were interviewed via an online survey on March 27-28, 2019. The margin of error on a probability sample of this size in each market is +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.