Is the Daily Mail less impartial than social media? That’s the takeaway from one of the charts (shown above) in Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report.
The report asked website and app users to rate 7 news websites against 5 criteria. The Daily Mail comes out with the lowest proportion of respondents rating it highly for ‘impartiality and unbiased‘, ‘Offers range of opinions‘, and ‘Importance‘.
This is particularly surprising given that two of the other websites are social networks. 28% rated Facebook and Twitter highly on impartiality, compared to 26% for the Daily Mail.
Less surprising perhaps is that users believe social media provides a range of opinions – in fact Twitter’s 79% rating is the highest, 17 percentage points higher than runners-up Sky and the BBC.
Twitter is also rated important by more users than any other site, with Google News coming second, before broadcasters’ websites and apps.
Aggregators Yahoo News and Google News also get higher ratings than the Daily Mail for accuracy and reliability: fewer than half of users rate the news website highly on the criteria, but Twitter and Facebook perform even worse, with fewer than a quarter of users rating Facebook highly for reliability in news.
I’m always frustrated by research that asks people to rate the trustworthiness of social media. It is like asking how much you trust a telephone: users judge the reliability of the person on the end of the phone, not the phone itself, and answers to this question are likely to be strongly influenced by media coverage of Facebook and Twitter. What we say and what we do are very different things – but judged on that basis it’s still a useful benchmark for perceptions of other websites.
The full data can be found here (search for 1.107), and is reproduced in the table below.
|Importance||Accurate & Reliable||Trustworthy||Impartial & unbiased||Offers range of opinions|
|BBC website or app||68%||69%||68%||63%||60%|
|Sky News website or app||61%||70%||69%||66%||62%|
|Daily Mail website or app||54%||45%||47%||26%||47%|
I find it very interesting that the Daily Mail is rated lower than social media sites like Facebook or Twitter in terms of biased or impartial. Through my personal experience with Facebook I’ve come across a lot information that was posted on my news feed that did include that person’s feelings or opinions, so I’ve learned to take things posted on Facebook with a grain of salt.