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The Economist – Why Europeans are less eager consumers of online ranting than Americans

Perhaps because they trust the mainstream media more – “…But in other ways Europe is less suited to internet-based populism than America. Enthusiasm for social media is related to scepticism towards traditional media, says Cornelius Puschmann of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, a Berlin-based think-tank—and Americans have plenty of both. In 2016, 16% of American internet users accessed Twitter at least once a month, according to comScore, a research firm. That year, Americans’ trust in news fell to just 33%, according to the Reuters Institute, a research centre at Oxford University. Europeans, by contrast, have more confidence in traditional media and are less active on social media. Nearly 13% of Dutch internet users log on to Twitter once a month, but only 6% of Italians, 5% of French and 4% of Germans do. Facebook use is more common, but still lower than in America. Meanwhile, 54% of Dutch and 52% of Germans trust the news, according to the Reuters study. For German public radio and TV, the figure is over 70%, according to a survey by WDR, a public broadcaster based in Cologne. Just 8% trust what they see on Facebook and Twitter. In Italy trust in news has declined to 42%, and in France to 32%. Yet Julia Cagé, a French media expert, does not think France is being overtaken by a wave of post-truthism. Publications like Libération and Le Monde have launched fact-checking tools to counter rising fears of “fake news”…”

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