DOI: 10.1093/poq/nfad029 ISSN: 0033-362X

Social Media Effects on Public Trust in the European Union

Osman Sabri Kiratli
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • History
  • Communication


This paper scrutinizes the effect of social media use on institutional trust in the European Union (EU) among European citizens. Fixed-effects regression models on data from the Eurobarometer survey conducted in 2019, the year of the most recent European Parliament (EP) elections, demonstrate that higher social media use is associated with lower trust in the EU. More importantly, social media usage habits exert particularly detrimental effects in regions with wider and faster internet connections. In such high-information environments, those who more frequently use online social networks, tend to trust those networks, and receive information on EU affairs from these networks have less faith in the EU compared to those in regions with lower-quality internet access. In contrast, in regions with lower broadband access, receiving EU information from social media fosters political trust.