Why people are losing trust in mainstream media — Mario Nawfal

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People’s trust in mainstream media has drastically fallen in recent years, reaching record lows in several countries amid the simultaneous rise in the popularity and proliferation of social media platforms.

An October 2023 Gallup poll found that just 32% of Americans had a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in mass media sources, way down from the 54% seen 20 years prior in 2003. A recent Reuters study that looked at media trust in Brazil, India, the United States and the United Kingdom also revealed declining levels of trust.

For many, social media platforms such as X, Facebook and TikTok have become primary sources of information and news. With this trend shift comes the opportunity for more grassroots, decentralized, democratic news reporting, though it also brings concerns about the proliferation of misinformation.

One person who has made a huge name in the social media space is Mario Nawfal, the founder of International Blockchain Consulting. He is perhaps most famous for his massively popular Spaces on X, which cover the latest crypto trends as well as international breaking news.

Nawfal sat down with host Jonathan DeYoung on episode 38 of the Decentralize with Cointelegraph podcast to discuss the power of social media, the increasing mistrust of traditional media, the pressures of having a large platform, and much more.

The power and democratic nature of X Spaces

For Nawfal, the reason people are increasingly turning to social media platforms to get their news does not necessarily relate to anything specific that has changed with the platforms themselves. “They’re just mediums to be able to communicate to your audience, and those will continue evolving,” said Nawfal. “I think what really changed is trust.”

“It’s very difficult to build [trust], but it’s very easy to destroy. And I think what we’re seeing right now is that erosion of trust from media companies, from mainstream media. That trust is looking for people and places to go, and I’m trying to be one of those voices.”

One tool that Nawfal has utilized to great success is X Spaces. These live events are regularly listened to by thousands of people, covering a wide assortment of topics, from the latest news to crypto trends.

Mario Nawfal chats with Cointelegraph AR back in 2023.

Nawfal told DeYoung that rather than simply “replacing” mass media such as cable news, Spaces offer a more democratic, decentralized approach to the traditional talking head format. “The biggest value of Spaces is the way it’s structured,” he said. “When we did the coverage of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, Bill Ackman requested to speak. We didn’t invite him. He just came on. He follows me, and he came, requested to speak, and we had a chat with him.”

“The fascinating thing about Spaces is, it’s like cable news, but imagine every listener could actually press a button on their TV and request to speak, and you’ll see all their bio, all their details as a producer. You’ll vet everyone they’re speaking or DMing you to speak and just ‘invite,’ ‘invite,’ and a panel organically builds.”

With great power comes great responsibility

Nawfal regularly hosts lengthy Spaces that bring in multiple guests, and sometimes, what is discussed can have real-world impacts. He pointed to a recent 7.5-hour Space he hosted that turned into a live investigation into the TrumpCoin (DJT) memecoin and whether or not the Trump family was involved in its launch.

Related: Kamala Harris memecoin surges 250% amid calls for Biden to bow out

Nawfal reported that over the course of the Space, the token saw wild price swings, often corresponding with the direction of the conversation and whether evidence was emerging for or against the Trump family’s involvement.