Social media is the most distrusted industry in Australia, survey finds

A survey by Roy Morgan found most people think social media creates more problems than it solves.

A survey by Roy Morgan found most people think social media creates more problems than it solves. Photo: Getty

Social media platforms are not to be trusted – Australian consumers overwhelmingly agree.

The most distrusted industry in Australia for the last 12 months to June 2022 was social media, a recent survey by Roy Morgan revealed.

Distrust in the sector is driven mainly by the key demographic of people aged 25-49, although trust is extremely low across other age groups.

Only around a quarter of Australians, 28.7 per cent, agree with the statement social media “solves more problems than it creates”.

“A clear majority of Australians (71.3%) disagree with that contention and believe social media actually creates far more problems than it solves,” said Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine.

Social media: ‘Solves more problems than it creates’

Facebook, and its parent company Meta, are primarily responsible for the sector’s high distrust scores.

When asked to explain why they believe social media “causes more problems than it solves” survey respondents cited the spread of misinformation, lies and fake news across social platforms; problems with bullying and harassment; and negative health impacts, particularly mental health.

Social media’s image problem is a huge challenge for Meta, Twitter and TikTok as they seek to rebuild the value of their brand equity.

Platforms risk becoming vulnerable to shifts in market dynamics and new competitors entering the space.

Early this year, Meta reported a $10 billion revenue loss and an unprecedented loss of up to 1.5 million users in 2022 – Mark Zuckerberg blamed competitor TikTok.

“Distrust starts with doubt and suspicion and quickly accelerates to fear and action. This is when customers begin to desert a brand,” said Ms Levine.

“A recent example is AMP, and how soaring levels of distrust all but destroyed its share price and market capitalisation.

“We are often asked: ‘How do you rebuild trust?’ We tell our clients you cannot rebuild trust until you have neutralised distrust.”

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