Are internet technologies doing more harm than good to our democracy? And what – if anything – should lawmakers do about it?
Because these questions are critical to U.S. elections, democracy and public health, Gallup and Knight Foundation sought American views on the way forward.
Surprisingly, Americans’ opinions did not always follow party lines when it comes to Internet regulation. In fact, half of Americans occupy a diverse middle ground, a new Gallup/Knight survey of 10,000 adults found, offering a new lens on the national conversation on free expression online.
Some of the top findings:
- A wide-range of views: Americans attitudes go beyond party lines to fall into six groups with respect to internet regulation.
- Social Media Use: Americans use social media sites more than any other type of website. Those who say a social media site is one of their most used tend to go to these platforms for entertainment (80%) and to connect with others (70%), more rather than for news (62%).
- Online vs. Offline: Americans rarely engage in politics online, and 32% say debates on social media make them less likely to use social media. But large numbers say these debates make them more likely to take offline action like voting (48%) or more closely following the news (39%).
- Harmful Content: Most Americans (90%) believe social media makes it easier for harmful and extreme viewpoints to spread. Most say they distrust (76%) what they see on social media. Black Americans are the most likely to be concerned about hate speech and abusive content (70%).
- Deep Concerns: Among Americans, 71% say the internet does more to divide us than bring us together, and 62% say that elected officials pay too little attention to tech issues.
TAKE THE QUIZ and see how your views match up.
Join the conversation with #KMAD
Sound information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Today, more and more information is mediated by digital technology – and with impacts that are not yet well understood. In this age of many-to-many communication, there is a clear need for fresh thinking and research to inform a new generation of democratic institutions and norms that […]
Just a few years ago, Americans were overwhelmingly optimistic about the power of new technologies to foster an informed and engaged society. More recently, however, that confidence has been challenged by emerging concerns over the role that internet and technology companies — especially social media — now play in our democracy. In a series of […]