Poll: Most Americans hold negative views of social media

A majority of Americans hold negative views of social media companies, believing them responsible for passing on false or misleading information.

Fifty-five percent of respondents to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll said they believe social media platforms do more to spread false information and outright lies than to spread news or correct info. Less than a third, 31 percent, said that social media was better for news than it was for misleading data.


When it comes to holding the powerful accountable, more respondents — 61 percent — said social media spreads unfair attacks and rumors than the 32 percent who say it serves as an avenue to hold powerful people and corporations to public scrutiny.

Facebook, in particular, faces low trust among Americans. A solid 6 out of 10 respondents say that they don't trust Facebook to oversee their personal data, while just 6 percent said they trusted the company either “a lot” or “quite a bit.”

The company is barely above water in terms of overall popularity: 36 percent of those surveyed view the company positively, compared to 33 percent who said they saw the company as a negative force.

Americans' feelings on Twitter were less pronounced, according to the poll: 24 percent of respondents view Twitter as a positive influence, while 27 percent view it as a negative influence.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted between March 23-27 among 1,000 U.S. adults. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.