New poll shows strong public concern about social media

Overwhelming majorities see negative impact on news, worried about fake news

TORONTO, February 21, 2017 – Signal Leadership Communication Inc. (SLC), a social PR consultancy for executives and organizations dealing with digital disruption, today released the results of a new Nanos Research public opinion poll of 1,000 Canadians* which found that nearly seven in ten people think social media is impacting the news in a negative way, with eight in ten worried about the growing phenomenon of ‘fake news’.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of survey respondents believe social media platforms are having a negative impact on the news…

Impact of social media on the news

Eighty-one percent (81%) are worried about the increase in fake news on the Internet…

Strong public concern about fake news

“People think social media is changing the news for the worse, and they are overwhelmingly worried about the ‘fake news’ phenomenon,” said Bob Pickard, Principal of SLC. “These numbers signal the unsettling alarm society feels about what social is doing to media information in this ‘post-truth’ era. We are in uncharted territory for public relations.”

“Fake news is now everywhere, and with the rise of bots online, so too are fake accounts. People are concerned they’ll be duped and they aren’t sure which sources to trust. The honeymoon is over for social media as people experience the downside of digital – and we now enter a challenging new communication phase.”

The poll also confirmed that most Canadians (79%) believe social media has the most potential to damage the image of an individual or organization, more than online news (59%), television (59%), radio (34%) or newspapers (27%).

Signal Leadership Communication Inc. (SLC) is a social public relations firm for executives and organizations with images to create, issues to manage, relationships to build, and reputations to protect in a digitally disrupted era. It is the one communications consultancy expressly dedicated to serving senior leaders with PR counsel that is both strategic and social by design, informed by a deep understanding of analytics, content, communities, media, sustainability and technology. The company is partnered with Nanos Research, one of North America’s premier market and public opinion research organizations. 

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land-and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between January 28 and February 1, 2017 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada. Individuals were randomly called using random digit dialing with a maximum of five call backs. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The research was commissioned by Signal Leadership Communication Inc.


Bob Pickard | | +1 (647) 822-1000 | @BobPickard

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