Majority says cancel culture poses ‘threat to freedom’

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Twitter and Facebook both have a legacy form of content moderation.

A majority of Americans say they believe cancel culture is a threat to their freedom, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill on Monday. 

Sixty-four percent of respondents said they thought cancel culture posed a threat to freedom in the U.S., while 36 percent said it was not a threat. 

The term, which has been defined as a cultural boycott, has been frequently used in political discourse over the past year. Conservatives, in particular, have taken to using it widely. The theme of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference was “America Uncanceled.” 
The poll found that more Republicans than Democrats consider cancel culture a threat. Eighty percent of Republicans said cancel culture was a threat, while 20 percent said it was not. But among Democrats, 48 percent still label cancel culture a threat and 52 percent do not.
Many who use the term have pointed to decisions to review and take down historical statues or landmarks of historical figures. Conservatives have also used the term to describe big tech’s role in quieting some people on social media for not following their company’s rules. 
Former President Trump was famously banned from Twitter earlier this year, leading critics to question whether the social media giant should have the authority to do this. 
“Americans are showing increased and substantial concern about the growth of cancel culture,” said Mark Penn, the director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey. “Tech companies beware that the public sees them of acting out of bias tilted towards the Democrats and voters are calling for new regulations to ensure fairness and openness. Amazon, in particular, still has a strong image compared to Facebook and Twitter, but that image may start to erode if they expand the banning of books on their platform.” 
Amazon recently pulled the book “When Harry Became Sally” by Ryan T. Anderson from sale on its site.
The Harvard CAPS-Harris poll of 2,006 registered voters was conducted from Feb. 23 to 25. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval. 

Tags Cancel culture Donald Trump Mark Penn

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