Who do you trust? Aussies shun fake news sources during pandemic

Facebook was among the most distrusted brands in Australia during April.

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“As a consequence, AMP’s soaring distrust saw billions of dollars withdrawn from investments under management and the company’s share price plummet by more than 70 per cent.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

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    Snowflake
    28th May 2020
    10:35am
    I see stupid Donald Trump is beating his chest about shutting Twitter because they called him out on his lies. I thought they had an ammendment in their constitution for free speech. Good on you Donald, you moronic half wit.
    greenie
    28th May 2020
    11:25pm
    Jealousy is a curse.
    Horace Cope
    28th May 2020
    12:16pm
    “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.”

    It's simple to produce a "high rating" for the two media brands if you combine the numbers which, in my opinion, is falsifying the viewing numbers. The ABC is 5th behind the commercial channels and subscription TV with 14.2%, SBS is 6th with 5.7% and combining the two brings them from last and second last to 3rd place.

    I challenge the assertion that they are independent and produce objective information and I point out one recent incident. The day before Cardinal Pell's appeal was heard, our objective ABC aired a program showing men who claimed that they had been molested by Pell yet these same men had their claims investigated by police and none of the claims were found to be factual when all of the evidence was gathered. There was a Part 2 of the program which was cancelled after the appeal was upheld. At no time was anyone representing Cardinal Pell shown on the program to give a balanced view.
    Anonymous
    28th May 2020
    3:57pm
    ABC and SBS are good for entertainment but not for anything else.
    Eddy
    28th May 2020
    4:38pm
    I trust the ABC much much much more than I trust any of Murdoch's News Ltd outlets, like SkyNews, or it's stable of newspapers. I do not watch SBS news often but when I do I am favourably impressed. I find ABC News reasonably impartial although I am aware they can be just as guilty of sensationalising news as any other news outlet. My perception is that the ABC is less likely to sacrifice truth for a good story.
    Eddy
    28th May 2020
    4:38pm
    I trust the ABC much much much more than I trust any of Murdoch's News Ltd outlets, like SkyNews, or it's stable of newspapers. I do not watch SBS news often but when I do I am favourably impressed. I find ABC News reasonably impartial although I am aware they can be just as guilty of sensationalising news as any other news outlet. My perception is that the ABC is less likely to sacrifice truth for a good story.
    BillW41
    28th May 2020
    12:52pm
    I detest Facebook. The concept is completely stupid and full of idiotic posts! Stick with emails.
    Franky
    28th May 2020
    9:13pm
    I get my news from various sources and it's astounding how news varies! I don't trust any of them fully but ask myself if it makes sense. Facebook is ok but they have censored some reporting which contradicts the mainstream media. I use all media sparingly.
    robin hood
    28th May 2020
    11:55pm
    Twitter is the sewer of all social media


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