54% Indians Trust News Received On Whatsapp; 41% Indians Trust News On Facebook – Oxford Study

A Reuters study has found that the Indian population is more trusting of news on WhatsApp.

54% Indians Trust News Received On Whatsapp; 41% Indians Trust News On Facebook - Oxford Study


About the study

The study was titled ‘The Trust Gap: How and Why News on Digital Platforms Is Viewed More Sceptically Versus News in General’

It analysed responses of citizens in India, Brazil, the United Kingdom and United States on questions about trust on news outlets and social media platforms.

It wanted to examine “the relationship between trust in news and how people think about news on digital platforms”.

Political leanings

The study revealed that 77% of respondents in India said that they trusted the news media in general.

In particular, supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi were more likely to trust news on the messaging app than those critical of him.

70% of those who held a favourable opinion about Modi said that they trust news on WhatsApp compared to just 58% of those who held unfavourable opinions about him.

Various social media platforms

54% of them said that they trusted news that they receive on WhatsApp, 51% on Google and YouTube, 41% on Facebook, 27% on Instagram, 25% on Twitter.

Nearly half of the Indian respondents (48%) said that they get news online at least once a day.

This was the lowest figure among the four countries the study covered.

34% of Indians said that they never get news from online sources, which is by far the highest figure among the four countries.

WhatsApp as a news source

46% of the respondents in India said that they use WhatsApp for news on a daily basis, as compared to 58% in Brazil.

Politically interested Indians or 69% of them said they trusted YouTube for news.

Among those who were not politically interested, the most trusted source was WhatsApp (46%).

Respondents were also asked about negative and positive perceptions of journalists.

Poor perception of journalists

In India, 58% of the respondents believed that most journalists manipulate the public to serve the agenda of powerful politicians.

57% believed that journalists care more about getting attention than reporting facts.

However, 57% of respondents in the country do believe that journalists independently verify the information that they report.

And then there are 53% who believe that journalists try to prevent their opinions from slanting the news.

Social media not a trusted source of news

Across all four countries, most citizens say that they largely do not use social media platforms to receive news.

“For most platforms, people are more likely to say they use them to connect with other people in their lives or for entertainment or to pass the time rather than to find out information about current affairs,” the report said.

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