News trustworthiness and verification in China: The tension of dual media channels
From 2006 to 2013, the increasing use of social media in China has provided a stage for citizens to report news and to vocalize viewpoints. News information circulated on social media at times contradicted the highly curated official news sources. In this study, we conducted two online surveys to explore 1) the level of trust that Chinese Internet users place on news from social media versus official media; and, 2) whether and how Chinese Internet users verify news from citizen sources. We found that news from official and citizen sources attracted different audience groups, who relied on different features to assess news trustworthiness. News verification was common and some users shared their findings through social media. We discuss the implications situated in a broader context of an authoritarian society.