Roy Morgan Research
July 19, 2019

ABC still most trusted | Facebook improves

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8064
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Australians trust the ABC and distrust Facebook the most, a landmark media survey reveals. 

Conducted in April by Roy Morgan, the MEDIA Net Trust Survey reveals that while Facebook – and Social Media generally – remains deeply distrusted in Australia, the ABC is still by far the nation’s most trusted media organisation.

Almost half of all Australians (44 percent) distrust social media, compared to only 7 percent who distrust the ABC. 

The 2019 results do, however, reveal an improvement in Facebook’s levels of distrust since the inaugural 2018 survey. In this survey Facebook enjoys a 33 percent decrease in its level of distrust, while its trust remains steady.

According to Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine, trust is now firmly on corporate Australia’s agenda, “But distrust is the critical measure everyone’s ignoring,” she said.

“The absence of the voices discussing distrust should be alarming every CEO and company director.

“Distrust is where our deepest fears, pain, and betrayal surface – the shock of discovering we were foolish to trust too much. 

“And nowhere is that sense of betrayal more profound than in our media brands. 

“When we subtract distrust from trust to achieve a Net Trust Score or NTS, we reveal a minus NTS for the Australian media industry, indicating that more Australians distrust the media industry than trust it.” she said.

Media category Net Trust Scores or NTS (distrust score subtracted from trust score):

“In a world filled with so-called fake news, tracking real distrust is now a material issue for boards and the top management of media brands,” said Ms Levine.

“The consistently strong NTS performance by the ABC demonstrates that ‘real news’ is significantly more trusted by Australians than the ‘fake news’ promulgated on social media."

After the ABC, SBS is Australia’s second most trusted media owner*. Schwartz media follows in third place, with Macquarie media in fourth, as the only two other media owners with a positive NTS.

SBS is also Australia’s most trusted commercial television network with an NTS of +9 – well ahead of the other three commercial networks, all with an NTS of between minus 3 and minus 6. 

“Australians told us that their trust of the ABC is driven by its lack of bias and impartiality, quality journalism and ethics. While their distrust of Social Media is driven by lack of journalistic standards, fake news, manipulated truth, privacy concerns, bias and hidden agenda.”

But why does distrust matter? 

According to Ms Levine:

• Distrust triggers audience churn

• Distrust kills audience engagement

• Distrust kills advertiser spend

• Distrust is the tipping point for reputational damage

• Distrust is the bellwether for an unsustainable future

The Roy Morgan Net Trust Score - Topline Media Brands Report is available on the online store here.


• We ask approximately 1,000 Australians each month which BRANDS they TRUST and which they DISTRUST

• In April 2018 and April 2019 we conducted additional surveys of approximately 1,200 Australians asking which MEDIA they TRUST and DISTRUST – The Media Net Trust Survey

• The survey was unprompted and open ended (quantitative + qualitative)

• Respondents were recruited from the Roy Morgan Single Source database (>600,000)

• We took the trust score of each nominated media brand and subtracted the distrust score

• The result is a Net Trust Score – Media NTS

• Respondents were also asked WHY they trust or distrust nominated media brands

*Schwartz Media includes: The Monthly, The Saturday Paper and Schwartz Media.

Macquarie Media includes: Macquarie Media, 2GB, 3AW, 4BC, 6PR, NTS, Macquarie Sports Radio 

Other Macquarie Media, Talking Lifestyle (was 2UE)


To gain a greater understanding of Roy Morgan’s Trust and Distrust Program or to understand more about your own industry or brand contact Roy Morgan.

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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