Reputation Survey: Social Media and Privacy - Public spurns Twitter tittle-tattle

Most members of the public do not view Twitter as a reliable news source and nearly half are not interested in who has taken out a super-injunction, new research reveals.

Although much has been made of the power of Twitter to unmask individuals who have taken out super-injunctions, the majority of the public did not go to the site to find out who was being named, new research shows.

According to PRWeek/One Poll's latest survey of 2,000 members of the public, 80 per cent of respondents did not turn to Twitter to discover who had taken out injunctions. A further 43 per cent said they were not even interested in who had taken out gagging orders. Only ten per cent said they were very interested.

But 48 per cent said they did not think people who broke injunctions on Twitter and Facebook should be prosecuted, despite it being a criminal offence. A further 50 per cent of the public said they supported the Sunday Herald's decision to print a front-page picture of a footballer who took out a super-injunction.

Although 43 per cent of people thought Twitter was the news source that broke stories first, only nine per cent thought it was the most likely source to have an accurate version of a news story. Instead, 52 per cent said they thought TV broadcasters like the BBC and Sky would have the most accurate story, while 13 per cent chose national newspapers. With five per cent of the vote, Facebook was seen as more accurate than regional media or radio stations, with three per cent each.

Interest in celebrities appears to be waning. Ninety per cent of people said the media placed too much importance on them.

Survey of 2,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll

HOW I SEE IT

Nick Ede, Creative director, EdenCancan

It's very interesting how people's perceptions of the perils of social media are changing. They are still an unknown force. In some camps they are seen as a source of gossip and in others, a reliable information network.

Interestingly, most people still rely on broadcast media for correct information and in my opinion I think they should. This nation is obsessed with celebrities so to see that 82 per cent don't care if there is a celebrity on the cover or not interests me. I'm not sure I believe this, as even a minor name like Imogen Thomas can shift copies.

When it comes to super-injunctions there is a dichotomy; on the one hand we want to know who the names are, but on the other hand we wouldn't want people finding out about our own misdemeanours.

Public interest as a term is very hard to define and I think this blurred view of what's right and wrong will be a point of debate for years to come.

Injunctions

70% of respondents said high profile figures should only be allowed injunctions to stop the press writing stories if they are untrue

Privacy law

57% did not believe the UK should have a privacy law to prevent media intrusion into the lives of those in the public eye

Extramarital Affairs

54% said the public did not have a right to know about the extramarital affairs of high profile people

DOES THE PUBLIC HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ...
High profile CEOs?
Yes: 26
No: 10
Only if their behaviour is hypocritical or negatively affects their
ability to do their job
64
DOES THE PUBLIC HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ...
Entertainment celebrities?
Yes: 42
No: 58
DOES THE PUBLIC HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ...
Sports stars?
Yes: 59
No: 28
Only if it is something that undermines their performance (eg: drug
taking)
13
DOES THE PUBLIC HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ...
The Royal Family?
Yes: 48
No: 52

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