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Many trust what their friends post on social media more than experts, poll claims

Researchers warn of the dangers of ruling out the cleverest as they can assist in helping us understand issues

Monday 22 July 2019 15:07 BST

Facebook is seen as more reliable than experts, according to a new poll.

Fewer than 40 per cent of the 2,000 British adults surveyed, picked an expert as the most trustworthy authority for information and advice.

Yet, one sixth admitted accepting anything a friend shares on social media as fact and impossible to be false because it is from someone they know well.

The same number said they will believe something if their mother tells them, while more than one quarter will accept something is true if it simply "sounds believable".

The internet, books and partners were also seen as sources to rely on.

The survey which asked about various aspects of modern life, also revealed what myths the public are still trying to bust.

Among the old adages that many were found to be struggling to verify either way, are "Does sugar make children hyperactive?".

"Are bats blind?' and "whether food is safe to consume if it’s been on the floor for less than five seconds", were also included.

The poll also found almost one third think "buying is always better than renting" while one in 10 believed cracking knuckles leads to arthritis.

John Pears, the managing director of Lowell which commissioned the research, was keen to stress how important "experts" are.

“Whether this is because old wives tales have been passed down from parents or stories seen on the internet or friends have shared them, it’s often hard to differentiate between fact and fiction," he said. “Old wives’ tales are often harmless but some untruths can affect your wealth or your health.

''It’s important to get the right information advice from experts, who know how to help."

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Blogger and Emma Bradley added: "With the research suggesting many of us don’t trust experts and preferring friends on social media to specialists, it is time to reframe where we get our information from.

“We have lost trust in experts and often feel they don’t tell us the whole truth or that they have an ulterior motive especially where money is concerned, it seems we trust people like ourselves more but this can be problematic. Experts are qualified and have extensive experience on a topic, when it comes to finance we also need experts as they are able to break down jargon and explain it in terms that we understand."


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