A week out from the 2018 midterms, and it appears Americans have lost their trust in the media as a reliable source for election-related matters, with Facebook and other social media outlets exhibiting the greatest trust deficits, according to a recent survey from cybersecurity and privacy firm ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN’s survey discovered that only a minority of Americans now trust political candidates or any media outlets as accurate and unbiased sources on election information. Only 28 percent said they trust traditional news media, and only six percent said they trust the candidates themselves. Only six percent said they trust social media more than traditional news outlets or candidates. A clear majority — 60 percent — said they don’t trust any of these sources at all.
When asked to choose between the New York Times and Facebook as the most accurate and unbiased midterms information source, 76 percent said they trusted the Times more than Facebook, while only 24 percent said they trusted Facebook more than the Times.
“Facebook has a serious fake news crisis on its hands, and its ‘war room’ charm offensive looks like too little, too late,” ExpressVPN vice president Harold Li told O’Dwyer’s. “Americans have lost their trust in Facebook and other social media as reliable sources of information, and the platforms risk hemorrhaging audiences if they don’t take significant measures to fight against misinformation.”
The survey also found that 70 percent of Americans think they should be able to vote on whether the U.S. government has the right to regulate the use of personal data that’s collected online, and 59 percent think they should be able to vote on whether to bring back Net Neutrality.
Finally, nearly two-thirds — 63 percent — said they were concerned about the security of voting systems during the upcoming midterms. For older Americans — particularly those aged 55 and older — that concern was higher, at 70 percent.
More than a third — 37 percent — cited Russia as the country they think is most likely to interfere in the elections.
The ExpressVPN midterm elections survey polled 400 U.S. adults through Google Surveys in October.