Although traditional media remains the number one trusted source of news information, search engines are a close second with a 5% year over year increase in public trust. This is according to data from the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, which found that 56.5% of the “informed public” places their trust in search engines for reliable news and information.
The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer surveyed 26,000 respondents from the global general public, 5,800 of whom were considered the “informed public” based on college education, income, and how closely they followed public issues. Respondents ages 30–65 claimed traditional media such as TV, newspaper, and magazine to be their most trusted source of news, but 61% of respondents ages 18–29 claimed to trust search engines more than any other source for news. Every age group cited search engine results as a more trusted source than social media; an average of 41% of respondents claimed to trust social media.
According to an article from Search Engine Journal, Google and Bing recognize the importance of trust from the general public and have implemented tools that work to “surface more reliable information, rather than just a list of links.” Google’s Knowledge Graph and Bing’s Snapshot feature contribute to an effort to show reliable information in search results and convince searchers that the results are trustworthy.
With an increased amount of the population placing trust in search engine results, it’s possible that it will one day surpass traditional media as the number one source of acquiring reliable news and information.
Photo courtesy of 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer slide show