70 percent of Americans say Facebook, Twitter do more harm than good: poll
A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows 7 out of 10 Americans believe social media companies like Facebook and Twitter do more harm than good.
Twenty percent of respondents said the companies do more good than harm, and 10 percent didn’t respond either way, according to the poll, which was conducted between Oct. 15 and Oct. 18.
The poll also found that public opinion was split in terms of how much government should regulate social media platforms.
Forty-seven percent of respondents said the government needs to be involved with regulating Facebook and Twitter, and 45 percent responded that it should not be part of regulating the companies.
“A sharp slap in the face for Facebook and its social media cohorts. ‘You are not helping… you are hurting people,’ say Americans,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said of the results. “But should the government police the offenders? No consensus on that.”
Asked about misinformation, 52 percent of respondents said Facebook was doing a poor job of regulating false content, compared to 27 percent who said it was doing a not so good job, and 12 percent who said it was doing good job. Only 1 percent called Facebook’s misinformation handling excellent, according to the survey.
The poll was conducted in the days following whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony before a Senate panel accusing the company of putting profits before user safety.
“Facebook should not get a free pass on choices it makes to prioritize growth and virality and reactiveness over public safety,” Haugen told the panel at the time. “They shouldn’t get a free pass on that because they’re paying for their profits right now with our safety.”
Haugen leaked internal Facebook documents to The Wall Street Journal last month highlighting its failure to contain anti-vaccine misinformation, its role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, and how Instagram is having a particularly damaging impact on younger users.
The Quinnipiac poll included responses from 1,342 adults with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.