Just Published! The Difference between Online News and Social Media


Internet, News, and Political Trust: The Difference Between Social Media and Online Media Outlets

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (Journal IF: 3.117)

Replication material: andreaceron.com/publications

Acknowledgments: Voices from the Blogs for sharing data.

What is worth remembering:

  • The slant of online news differs from the sentiment spread on social media
  • During scandals, news media also broadcast the views of political elites
  • Social media are more clear-cut and focus more on criticism
  • We find support for the ‘virtuous circle’ theory
  • The consumption of online news is associated with higher political trust
  • The consumption of news from social media is associated with lower political trust
  • Need to preserve the quality of news (professional v/ citizen journalism)


What is the relationship between Internet usage and political trust? To answer this question, we performed a cross-sectional analysis of Eurobarometer survey data related to 27 countries and a supervised sentiment analysis of online political information broadcast during the Italian debate on the reform of public funding of parties. The results disclose the differences between Web 1.0 websites and Web 2.0 social media, showing that consumption of news from information/news websites is positively associated with higher trust, while access to information available on social media is linked with lower trust. This has implications for the debate on social media as a public sphere and for the tension between professional and citizen journalism.

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