Public opinion sours on tech companies: poll

Public opinion sours on tech companies: poll
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Public opinion toward technology companies has soured in recent years amid growing concerns about privacy and misinformation, according to a new poll.

The Pew Research Center found that the percentage of adults who said that they believe technology companies are having a positive impact on the U.S. dropped from 71 percent in 2015 to 50 percent today.

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Respondents who say that tech companies have had a negative impact, meanwhile, has risen to 33 percent from 17 percent four years ago.

Another 17 percent said either that tech companies have had no impact on the country, a mixed impact or offered no opinion, compared to 11 percent in 2015.

Silicon Valley’s decline in popularity comes as policymakers in Washington have taken a much more aggressive role in policing the industry. The largest internet platforms — Facebook, Google and Amazon — are all facing antitrust probes from Capitol Hill and the Department of Justice.

And Republicans have accused social media companies, with little evidence, of censoring conservative viewpoints online.

The new Pew poll found tech companies have lost their standing among both self-identified Republicans and Democrats at similar rates. The share of Republicans who said they believe tech companies have had a positive impact on the country dropped from 72 percent to 44 percent in the last four years. For Democrats, that view declined from 74 percent to 54 percent.

Despite the drop, pollsters noted that only churches had more positive views than tech companies, adding that no other institution saw dramatic changes in its results since 2015.

Pew surveyed 752 respondents about their views on tech companies July 10–15 for its latest poll.