Americans are confused about whether the government needs to do more to hold technology companies accountable, and less for more regulation than last year, according to published today by a Pew study. Last year, more than half (56 percent) of Americans wanted more regulation of Big Tech. Now only 44 percent of Americans want to see more government implementation of technology companies. And the number of respondents who want less government regulation of the technology industry has doubled this year, from nine percent to 20 percent.
But these results should not suggest that the public has a rosier view of Big Tech or believes that technology companies are doing the right thing. The majority of respondents still feel – as they are – that platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others censor political points that companies find undesirable. More than three-quarters (or 77 percent) of Americans believe that social media platforms will behave this way in 2022, which is only a slight increase in recent years.
As we have seen in the past, more Republicans than Democrats believe that certain political views are focused on social media – 92 percent of Republicans say there is probably censorship, compared to 66 percent of Democrats. In recent years, the belief that social platforms have and operate on the basis of bias against conservatives has become such a frequent topic of discussion for many right-wing lawmakers that the Senate has held hearings on exactly this topic during the Trump presidency. According to Politico analysis however, conservative and right-wing media publications are more likely to go viral. Similarly, a New York University study found that social media platform algorithms are more likely to do so. reinforce conservatives than non-partisan or liberal figures. But even among left-wing respondents, belief in political censorship among platforms has grown steadily over the past two years, according to a Pew poll. While not as drastic as their Republican counterparts, a number of Democrats (66 percent) support the belief that platforms censor on the basis of political beliefs, up from 62 percent in 2018and only 59 percent in 2020.
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