Who do you trust?

As Australians devour more news during the COVID-19 pandemic, social media service Facebook is among the country’s most distrusted brands, according to a new survey.

The monthly Roy Morgan Risk Monitor, which surveys 1000 Australians every month to measure levels of trust and distrust in more than 800 brands, found that Facebook and AMP were the most distrusted brands in Australia.

Facebook has made a big deal of the action it has taken to fight misinformation about the virus but many believe this is nowhere near enough, and this survey makes it clear that Australians are not falling for it.

After a damning report in early April found 29 per cent of English-language coronavirus misinformation was not labelled as false and that Facebook took up to 22 days to identify false information, the company rolled out a system that directed every user who had seen false information to World Health Organisation (WHO) sources.

The key media brands trusted by Australians, according to Roy Morgan research, are the ABC and SBS.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine says amid the first global pandemic in a century, consumer trust is critical for all businesses, but particularly so for media, which is delivering vital information in a rapidly changing environment.

“During the pandemic, Australians are eager to utilise trusted media brands to keep up-to-date with the latest messages from government and to find out the latest developments,” Ms Levine said.

“The high trust ratings for the ABC and SBS, which reflect their reputations for honesty, high quality service, independence and objective information, give these two media brands a head start in attracting large audiences.”

The levels of distrust for AMP are a result of the company struggling to recover from the finding of the banking royal commission.

“We saw it (AMP) leap from virtually no distrust to become the second most distrusted brand in the nation,” Ms Levine said.

“As a consequence, AMP’s soaring distrust saw billions of dollars withdrawn from investments under management and the company’s share price plummet by more than 70 per cent.

“That’s the real risk of distrust. It is not just a reputational issue, it has a material impact on a company’s revenues and market value,” she said.

On the flipside, Bunnings (first), Woolworths (second) and Qantas (third) were selected by Australians as their most trusted brands during April – with Commonwealth Bank (10th) the big mover.

Unlike AMP, the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) entered the top-10 most trusted brands for the first time since the royal commission.

“It’s only a few weeks since we were in lockdown and desperately trying to get to the supermarkets for essentials. And despite accusations of price gouging, delivery problems and supply chain failures, Woolworths rode the storm best and came out really trusted by Australians,” Ms Levine explained.

“Woolworths was on the front foot from the outset and that appears to have resonated with Australians.

“This is also a great result for Bunnings. Australian’s just love it – even when they can’t have a sausage sizzle. Bunnings keeps innovating and creating new connections with its customers,” she said.

“But Qantas and the CBAare the standout performers. Qantas was frequently in the media flying stranded Australians home from across the globe throughout the pandemic lockdown.

“And in early March, Matt Comyn, CEO of the CBA, moved quickly to offer financially stressed customers loan payment relief. He had a high profile during the lockdown and that has paid dividends for the CBA’s level of trust.”

The top 10 most trusted brands, according to the Roy Morgan survey, are:

  1. Bunnings
  2. Woolworths
  3. Qantas
  4. ALDI
  5. NRMA
  6. ABC
  7. Australia Post
  8. Coles
  9. Bendigo Bank
  10. CBA.

Do you distrust Facebook? What is your most trusted source of information during the pandemic?

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Written by Ben

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