Public expects brands to force social media sites to tackle fake news and protect data

The public believes brands should pressure social media sites

An Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report has found that brands are feeling the pain from the public's newfound lack of trust in social media platforms.

Its survey of 9,000 people in nine countries found that most consumers feel that brands should force social media platforms to safeguard personal data (71%), curb the spread of fake news (70%) and shield them from offensive content (68%).

Edelman came to the conclusion that “brands are the new democracy,” adding “consumers expect brands to have values, not just a value proposition. That means consumers are looking for brands to act to improve social media because the power of the advertiser exceeds that of the individual".

Only 41% of respondents said they trust social media. The lowest scores cropped up in the US (30%), Germany (27%), France (25%) and the UK (24%). These figures were likely affected by the recent Cambridge Analytica and fake news scandals that now appear to be having a negative effect on the marketing ecosystem.

54% said they are uncomfortable with marketers tracking their in-store purchases for targeting purposes. 71% said it should be illegal for a brand to buy personal information from another company. And 49% said they will not sacrifice data privacy in return for a more personalised shopping experience.

Half blame brands for their ads appearing next to hate speech or sexual content, believing that points of view that appear near a brand’s advertising and marketing are an indication of that brand’s values.

Kevin King, global chair of Edelman Digital, said: "Consumers are holding brands accountable, just like they do the platforms. But the price a marketer pays for a mistake can be far costlier, as it’s easier for consumers to stop buying a brand of toothpaste or laundry detergent than it is to quit a favorite social media platform.”

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