Bloggers Get Flogged in Study that Rated Info Trustworthiness

A new study ranked blogs as the least trusted sources of information out of 13 sources analyzed.

The study, by global market insight group TNS, was based on responses by 27,000 people surveyed in 16 countries. With few exceptions, blogs were at the bottom of the barrel in terms of being cited as worthwhile places to get accurate information.

“Blogs are almost universally distrusted with only one in ten trusting them globally,” said a statement released by TNS. Least trustful of blogs were respondents in Norway, The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. Only 5 percent of respondents in those nations said they trusted blogs more than any other sources of information.

A mere 9 percent of United States respondents said they believed blogs over anything else. Bloggers concerned about being believed might want to focus on China and Korea, since TNS found “the Chinese and Koreans were much more trusting of the medium at 24 percent and 22 percent respectively.”

One finding that might make professional journalists grumble is that the majority of people said they trust information and recommendations gleaned from friends more than that provided by newspapers, online news and TV news. On a global basis, four out of ten of respondents (42 percent) highly trust “good old recommendations from friends,” said TNS. Americans ranked the trustworthiness of word of mouth at 48 percent and the Chinese “put the most trust in friendly recommendations at 56 percent,” noted the researchers.

Some die-hard print reporters will cringe to learn that their work is trusted about equally — at about 40 percent — with online news and TV news. That’s the average. In some places, such as the United Kingdom, newspapers have lost much of their credibility: “In the UK, a strong distrust of traditional newspapers stands out with only 23 percent saying they trust this information source, a much lower score than online news (40 percent),” observed TNS.

Scandinavians revealed the highest level of trust for online news, with 54 percent of all respondents in Finland, 50 percent of those in Sweden, 48 percent of people in Norway and 48 percent of respondents in Denmark saying they trusted Web-based news.

In a statement, TNS VP Technology and Media Don Ryan said the study results are good news for those concerned that Internet users are gullible.

“It’s heartening to see how well online users are able to gauge their media, “said Ryan. “Whether using new or traditional media, trust of the source of information is paramount. Online blogs clearly have no real accountability. Although they may be a great source of entertainment and a useful source of information and reviews they are clearly highly subjective.”

While many scoff at information grabbed from user-written-and-edited Wikipedia, TNS found that Germans tend to really trust the site. “In Germany, Wikipedia scored the highest level of trust among all the 13 information sources identified in the survey,” said TNS, adding Wikipedia was rated as the most trustworthy information source by 52 percent of the respondents in Germany.

Note: An earlier version of this story said blogs were hte least trusted sources of “news.” The word should have been “information.”

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