Gatekeeping in the era of fake news: The effects of trust on online news consumption behaviour

Democracy requires news media that act as gatekeepers by monitoring, curating and interpreting information about important events. Today, many people obtain their news from a wide range and diversity of online gatekeepers, ranging from professional journalists to friends and strangers on social media. This has raised strong concerns regarding how people decide which gatekeepers to trust: low trust undermines the role of gatekeepers to inform society and control power, but blind trust leaves people vulnerable to misinformation and disinformation. Yet, while there has been much attention for reports about the state of trust in news, we know little about how trust affects news consumption behavior. To better understand the role of trust in the gatekeeping process and the consequences of the current trust crisis, this project will investigate whether and how trust affects the ways in which people select, share and process online news.

This project is funded by a NWO Veni grant awarded to Kasper Welbers.