Introduction: Assessing the effect of different media sources on political trust provides an overall picture of the role of the current media landscape in influencing the legitimacy of political institutions. Methods: A cross-lagged model was developed and tested by applying it to a three-wave dataset obtained by surveying young people in Hong Kong in order to evaluate the unique impact of intention to consume news via personal social media network on political trust. Results: After controlling for the impact of other news channels and respondents’ prior political interest, we found their political trust was most significantly affected by information intentionally obtained from friends and family through their personal social media network. Discussion: Media exhibits a relatively weak effect on political trust, which is primarily influenced by selection, indicating that policymakers do not have to be concerned with online exchange of information that is critical of the government. Moreover, this evidence from Hong Kong suggests that, when it comes to developing political trust throughout the society, conflicts resulting from opposing views are better than ignorance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded by grants from the Public Policy Research Funding Scheme, Hong Kong SAR (Project Number 2014.A5.006.15A) and the Hong Kong Scholars Programme, Society of Hong Kong Scholars and China National Postdoctoral Council.
Copyright © 2023 Zhang, Tian, Zhou, Huang and Zhu.
- Hong Kong
- political trust
- social media
- young people