Fewer Americans want government to regulate Big Tech, Pew study finds

Americans are mixed about whether the government should be doing more to hold tech companies accountable, and fewer are in favor of more regulation than they were last year, according to released today from a Pew poll. Last year, more than half (56%) of Americans wanted more regulation of Big Tech. Today, only 44% of Americans want the government to enforce more tech companies. And the number of respondents who want less government regulation of the tech industry has doubled this year, from 9% to 20%.

But these results shouldn’t suggest that the public has a more positive view of Big Tech or believes tech companies are doing it right. The majority of respondents still feel — as they did in — that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others censor political points that companies find objectionable. More than three-quarters (or 77%) of Americans think social media platforms behave this way in 2022, which is only a slight increase from recent years.

As we’ve seen in the past, more Republicans than Democrats believe certain political views are targeted on social media — 92% of Republicans say censorship is likely, compared to 66% of Democrats. And in recent years, the belief that social platforms own and act on bias against conservatives has become such a frequent talking point among right-wing lawmakers that the Senate has held hearings on this same subject during the Trump presidency. According to a politician analysis however, posts from conservative media and right-wing media influences are more likely to go viral. Similarly, a New York University study found that social media platform algorithms are more likely to amplify preservatives than non-partisan or liberal figures. But even among left-leaning respondents, belief in political censorship among platforms has steadily increased over the past two years, according to the Pew poll. Although not as drastic as their Republican counterparts, a plurality of Democrats (66%) maintain the belief that platforms censor based on political beliefs, compared to 62% in 2018and only 59% in 2020.

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