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For the first time media is the least trusted institution globally.

A new study finds that the USA public's trust in institutions, such as business, government, and tech, has plummeted, led by a drop in public trust in government.

Fewer than one in four people trust social media and reveals widespread demand for tougher regulation, the survey by Edelman Trust Barometer found.

No country saw a bigger decline than the United States, where trust across all institutions plunged by 37 points.

China saw the largest gain in public trust with an 8-point gain up to 84 percent.

The survey also found that 63 percent of people said the average person doesn't know how to distinguish good journalism from rumors and falsehoods, and 59 percent said that it's becoming harder to tell if news was produced by a respected news outlet. He said, "people are living in their own sort of thought bubble" and have their own set of media whether they are Republican or Democrats. The demise of confidence in the Fourth Estate is driven primarily by a significant drop in trust in platforms, notably search engines and social media.

There was also a revival of faith in experts, with industry analysts and entrepreneurs recording credibility levels of 50 percent or above.

"In a world where facts are under siege, credentialed sources are proving more important than ever", Stephen Kehoe, global chair of reputation at Edelman, said. Trust among the general population fell nine points to 43, placing it in the lower quarter of the 28-country Trust Index. Only those in China, Indonesia and India said they trust the media, with those in Singapore, the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates feeling neutral towards it. People in the U.S., U.K, and 20 other countries did not trust the media. "The root cause of this fall is the lack of objective facts and rational discourse", he said.

The issue of fake news has been prominent during Donald Trump's first year in office, with the president and his critics accusing each other of spreading false information.

"The least trusted country brands are Mexico (32 per cent), India (32 per cent), Brazil (34 per cent) and China (36 per cent)", the survey said, adding that trust in brand United States (50 per cent) dropped five points - the biggest decline of the countries surveyed. In contrast, Edelman says there has been "a huge increase" of 61 percent in people's trust of traditional media and a return to levels not seen for five years.

Fifty-nine percent of people surveyed for the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer said they were unsure what they see in the media is true and what isn't, while almost seven in 10 said they worry about fake news being used as "a weapon". Almost two-thirds of respondents say they want CEOs to take the lead on policy change instead of waiting for government, which now ranks significantly below business in trust in 20 markets.

Among the informed public, trust in American institutions ranked dead last, lagging behind countries such as Russia, Poland, South Africa, Turkey and Mexico. The fieldwork for the survey was conducted between October 28 and November 20, 2017.