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‘Fake news’ was named 2017’s word of the year and the reverberations from its rise to prominence have shaken society

Brits Want Transparency and Financial Experts

February 2018

‘Fake news’ was named 2017’s word of the year and the reverberations from its rise to prominence have shaken society, if the results of the January 22 Edelman Trust Barometer can be believed.

Edelman’s survey of 3000 Brits revealed a U-turn in the way people wish to consume media. 61% now trust traditional print and broadcast media, up 13% on 2017 and the highest level of trust since 2012. Conversely, fewer of us trust social media.

64% feel the social media giants are not sufficiently regulated; 70% feel they are not tackling important issues such as illegal or unethical behaviour on their platforms. Their spreading of extremist content, and apathetic approach to cyberbullying, leaves us cold and one in three feel social media bad for society.

Over half of all Brits worry about being exposed to fake news on social media and a trend is emerging. One third of us consume less news than we used to and 20 per cent avoid news completely. 42% simply skim headlines and don’t read on. Worryingly, professionals – profiled, in an avatar way, as a highly educated parent in their 40s, living in London - are the biggest news avoiders.

For those in media and technology sectors such as journalism, marketing and IT consultancy, clear lessons can be learned, but the figures are just as pertinent for many other business sectors. 63% of Brits are reacting against social media because it lacks transparency. That same concern makes 45% of us feel negative towards businesses. An open, honest and ethical business has every opportunity to flourish.

There is also a clear opportunity for traditional insurance brokers to deliver face-to-face transparency and expert advice, so the customer has no need to go online, trying to fathom out who to believe. Faith in financial experts is up 8%, to 51%.

Those who can perhaps benefit most from talking to a specialist broker, in the light of reactions to fake news, are those who could find themselves sued for slander or libel, or held fully accountable for data breaches, negligence or cyber attacks. But don’t despair. Firstly, full protection is available if you offer professional consultancy or information services. Secondly, the insurance process can result in the implementation of practices that reduce your exposure and risk, making you a healthier business.

To contact a specialist insurance broker local to you, please use our ‘Find a Local Broker’ tool.