Media Trust Under Threat: Antecedents and Consequences of Misinformation Perceptions on Social Media

Marlis Stubenvoll, Raffael Heiss, Jörg Matthes


Public concern over misinformation has reached worrying levels in recent years. This phenomenon stimulates a climate of information uncertainty under which individuals may also question high-quality information that is needed to sustain meaningful political debates. To address this issue, this panel study investigates antecedents of perceived misinformation exposure on social media and its consequences for media trust. We take a novel approach by examining 3 key factors that might lead to heightened perceived misinformation exposure (PME) among social media users: (1) their political knowledge, (2) their partisan strength, and (3) network characteristics. Even more importantly, we find that PME decreases media trust, and that this effect was especially pronounced among individuals with low political knowledge.


misinformation, media trust, fake news, social media, social network

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