Post-trust society: We now trust algorithms more than politicians, journalists or business leaders

 
Emma Haslett
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"... and now over to our business correspondent..." (Source: Getty)

In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, many Remain types pointed to "post-truth" - but new research suggests the UK is more post-trust, after the public's faith in politicians, business and the media plummeted.

Edelman's trust barometer showed public trust in the government fell 10 percentage points between 23 December and 9 January, from 36 per cent to 26 per cent.

Trust in business fell even further, from 45 per cent to 33 per cent, while trust in the media fell from 32 per cent to 24 per cent.

Meanwhile, 59 per cent said they'd rather a computer algorithm chose news for them than a human editor.

Read more: These are the professions we trust the most (and least) in a "post-truth" world

Business burnout

Chief executives are experiencing a crisis of trust, it seems - with just 28 per cent of Britons saying they trust business leaders - 12 percentage points lower than during the same period last year, and lower compared with 37 per cent across the rest of the world.

And as business leaders continue to make the case for Single Market access, the public is worried about the effects of immigration and globalisation, with 70 per cent of Britons saying the government should impose Trump-style trading restrictions to prevent job losses, and the same number saying they favour protectionism over growth.

Brexit effect?

The good news is, among politicians the Prime Minister has the most trust, with 35 per cent of people saying they have faith in her.

Joint-second are Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan, who both have 24 per cent of people's trust (although Boris's has fallen from 40 per cent last year), while Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon are on 23 per cent - and Nigel Farage has fallen to 20 per cent, from 31 per cent at the same point last year.

But the barometer suggested Brexit has given Britons something to look forward to: 60 per cent of people said they either feel more confident about their future following the referendum or not much has changed. However, 36 per cent said they were worried.

Read more: People don’t trust their banks – but capital assurance could change this

Media meltdown

We know there's a huge shift taking place in the way people consume information - but it turns out the way people trust the information they receive is also changing. Trust in the media has fallen to 24 per cent, its lowest since the aftermath of the phone hacking scandal in 2011,

While the number of people who trust "familiar" news organisations fell from 55 per cent to 48 per cent, some 76 per cent said they see information leaked about a company as more reliable than an official press statement - and 59 per cent said they'd rather a computer algorithm chose stories for them than a human editor.

City A.M., for one, welcomes its new robot overlords...

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