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US survey: 72 percent think social media platforms ‘censor’ viewpoints they find ‘objectionable’

51 percent also believe technology companies should be regulated more than they are currently and only 24 percent believe they 'do enough to protect the personal data of their users.'
Gareth
by on 1st July 2018

72 percent of Americans believe social media platforms “censor” viewpoints they find objectionable, according to a new survey published by Pew research.

The survey consulted 4,594 US citizens between May and June 2018 and the viewpoint seems to span the political divide, with 85 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Democrats declaring its very likely or somewhat likely social networks “censor” viewpoints they find objectionable.

43 percent of Americans also believe technology platforms favour the views or liberals over conservatives while 11 percent believe they favour the views of conservatives over liberals.

16 percent of Democrats believe liberal views are prioritized over conservative views while 53 percent of Democrats believe both groups are treated equally.

According to another survey by Pew research from 2017, 53 percent of Americans believe “it’s more important for people to feel welcome and safe online than it is for people to be able to speak their minds freely in digital spaces,” while 45 percent held the opposing view.

In recent months, both Twitter and Facebook have remarked on alleged political bias. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, during a congressional hearing on Facebook’s data protection practices, declared Silicon Valley to be an “extremely left-leaning place.”

Meanwhile in a live Q&A on Periscope earlier this year, Twitter’s Legal Policy and Safety Lead, Vijaya Gadde, stated:

“I’m not going to be able to deny the fact that we definitely have a lot of employees who have particular political views at the company. That is probably true not just of Twitter but of our industry and of Silicon Valley.”

Despite a majority believing social platforms actively “censor” viewpoints they find objectionable, the survey also found that 74 percent of Americans believe major technology firms, as well as the products and services they offer, have had more of a positive than negative impact on their own lives.

Moreover, 63 percent believe the impact these platforms have on society as a whole is more positive than negative. This said, only 24 percent of respondents believe they “do enough to protect the personal data of their users” and 51 percent believe they should be regulated more than they are now (57 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Republicans hold this view).

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