Social media trust in 2019—do Americans trust specialized forums over Facebook?

by | Jan 3, 2019 | Public Relations

New research from mobile forum app Tapatalk suggests consumers are growing frustrated with the inability to find trusted information on mainstream social media—and 4 in 5 survey respondents (80 percent) stated that they would trust responses on a specialized forum more than those on Facebook, while nearly as many (72 percent) said forums are more reliable for trustworthy information.

According to the survey results, a majority of people (63 percent) are going online daily to ask questions. Although the big social platforms like Facebook and Twitter remain very popular, 74 percent of respondents think the integrity of these sites is diminishing—and they’re less likely to use them to find trusted information. That said, users wish the forum user experience could be improved with better navigation capabilities across forums, consistent reputations and easier ways to engage with content experts.

Social media trust in 2019—do Americans trust specialized forums over Facebook?

People continue to turn toward forums for information and answers they can trust

In fact, 72 percent of respondents say forums (centralized or independent) would be more reliable for trustworthy information, compared to only 18 percent who said Facebook would be more reliable and 9 percent who said Twitter would be. Additionally, 80 percent trust responses on specialized forums more than those on Facebook. In terms of engaging with other users, over half (53 percent) of respondents said they prefer to interact on independent forums rather than centralized sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Social media trust in 2019—do Americans trust specialized forums over Facebook?

Despite forum popularity, the survey also highlighted areas for improvement

For instance, 79 percent of respondents think people should be rewarded for providing content or expertise online and 90 percent would be more likely to contribute if they were compensated for their contributions. Over a third (34 percent) of respondents said it’s very important for them to maintain anonymity online and 85 percent said they would be more likely to contribute if they could remain anonymous.

When asked about the biggest hassle encountered when participating in a new forum, the most popular response users expressed was building a new reputation when they’ve already created one on another forum. In fact, 62 percent of respondents said they should be able to take their reputation from forum to forum.

Social media trust in 2019—do Americans trust specialized forums over Facebook?

“As the original form of social media, forums continue to be the most common and trusted place for those with questions to find answers—though there remains much room for improvement,” said Winter Wong, CEO of Tapatalk, in a news release. “We plan to address these critical areas of trust through a seamless mobile forum experience using blockchain technology. While forums are already the preferred resource compared to other social media platforms, advancements within these spaces will help to cultivate even stronger content and engagement.”

Download the full study here.

Tapatalk conducted an anonymous survey of over 1,000 Americans to better understand how people are using platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and decentralized forums.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter