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Most trusted sources of general news and information worldwide 2012-2020

As of early 2020, 61 percent of adults who responded to a global survey stated that they trusted traditional media and search engines, making the two different but popular outlets the most trusted sources of news and information in the world. The source considered the least trustworthy was social media, not only on an overall global level but also in each world region. Social media was by far the least trusted news source in Europe and North America, and a survey held in the United States revealed that most U.S. adults considered the majority of news seen on social media to be biased.

Examining trust in news on a global level

= The reasons for news consumers’ growing suspicions about the trustworthiness of media are multifaceted, but the onslaught of fake news is a major contributing factor. Adults in several countries worldwide have wrongly believed a news story was real until later realizing it was fake, and one of the top reasons for avoiding news was the inability to rely on its truthfulness.

Conspiracy theories, tweets by politicians and poorly written or inaccurate news content often fall under the heading of fake news, and the term is also frequently used to describe news an individual disagrees with.

Fake news

Fake news is not a recent phenomenon, and has historically been used to defame individuals, garner support for corrupt movements and portray minority groups in a negative way. This tactic of generating publicity by presenting false information as fact was utilized as a means of propaganda during the First and Second World Wars, and by the 21st century became a major problem. Fake news is frequently connected to politics and was famously thrust into the public eye in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, resulting in concerns about the influence of fake news on voters and elections in the United States.

Most trusted sources of general news and information worldwide from 2012 to 2020

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period

2012 to 2020

Number of respondents


Age group

18 years and older

Special properties

2020: 28 countries worldwide; top four box for trust on a nine point scale where 1 = 'do not trust at all', 9 = 'trust it a great deal'

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

*Survery sample refers to 2020. Sample sizes for previous surveys can be found in earlier reports, but are generally of a similar number.
Question: When looking for general news and information, how much would you trust each type of source for general news and information?

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Statistics on "Fake news worldwide"

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