UCLA study: 53% Believe most information on the Net is reliable
According to a new study issued by the UCLA Center for Communication Policy people are becoming a bit more skeptical of what they find on the Net with one exception - a small portion of the population who believes everything. Some highlights from the UCLA Internet Report (PDF 212K):
- The number of users who believe that information on the Internet is reliable and accurate continued to decline in 2002. In 2002, 52.8% of users believed that most or all of the information online is reliable and accurate - a decline from both 2001 and 2000.
- The Internet is viewed as an important source of information by the vast majority of people who go online; in 2002, 60.5 percent of all users considered the Internet to be a very important or extremely important source of information. This has also has declined slightly.
- Average number of hours online per week continued to grow to 11.1 hours per week, up from 9.8 in 2001 and 9.4 in 2000.
- Internet users may be using their time to go online from hours previously spent watching television.
- More than half of users in 2002 said that since starting to use the Internet, they increased the number of people with whom they stay in contact.
- Perhaps it’s the nature of the bell curve but 2.2% of Internet users believe “all” of the information on the Internet is reliable and accurate.
Since this study is only in its third year, there are not a lot of datapoints to bet the farm on. But it appears the Net audience is becoming more savvy and mainstream in its attitudes. For news organizations, maintaining a high degree of trust will continue to be a challenge.