Big Tech's approval rating underwater: poll

Big Tech's approval rating underwater: poll
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The approval ratings of America’s biggest tech companies are all underwater, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon all had net unfavorable ratings in the survey conducted by Change Research on behalf of the progressive groups CAP Action and Public Citizen. 

A majority of respondents also showed an openness toward regulating and even breaking up the companies.

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“I think the honeymoon phase of the American public with Big Tech is over,” Public Citizen’s Jane Chung told The Hill.

The release of the poll comes as Congress works to iron out its strategy for taking on the country’s biggest tech companies.

The House Judiciary Committee last month advanced a raft of antitrust bills that would increase the power of regulators to take on anticompetitive activities and make it easier to break up companies.

Wednesday’s poll should serve as a boost to efforts to get those bills to the floor. A majority of respondents who identified as both Republicans and Democrats found the argument that government should break up Big Tech companies and regulate them to protect private information convincing.

A whopping 82 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning Americans found the argument convincing despite the comparative lack of support for the bills from House conservatives.

“This is a clear sign that voters are fed up with the abuse of the Big Tech companies and internet companies at large,” Chung said. “It is incumbent on elected officials to act on what the people want.”

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The survey also asked about a series of proposals to regulate technology.

Ensuring that individuals can sue companies for breaches of privacy and allowing states to pass privacy laws stronger than a potential national standard  both of which have been sticking points for Republicans in negotiations over a federal law  had strong support, with 96 and 91 percent of respondents backing them respectively.

The poll also found a slim majority in favor of either pausing or banning the use of facial recognition technology in the country, with 47 percent being in favor of continuing its use.

When told that most facial recognition is notably worse at identifying women and people of color and that the technology has led to wrongful arrests, support for pausing such technology rose to 82 percent among the sample.

The poll released Wednesday, as well as a handful of other recent surveys, show the American public’s perception of Big Tech companies souring significantly over the last few years as their power and influence has grown.

Change Research surveyed 1,200 registered voters online from June 7 to 12. The margin of error for the sample is 3.7 percentage points.