CNN poll: Three in four adults think Facebook is making society worse


Americans say, 76% to 11%, that Facebook is making society worse, not better, according to the survey. 13% say it has no effect anyway. This largely negative assessment holds true regardless of gender, age, and racial lines. Even frequent Facebook users – those who report using the site at least several times a week – say 70% to 14% that the social network is harming rather than helping American society. Although party majorities say Facebook is doing more harm than good, that sentiment is skyrocketing among Republicans (82%).

Among the overall majority who think Facebook is making society worse off, however, there is less overwhelming consensus as to whether or not the platform itself is to blame: 55% say the way some people do Facebook use is more in question, with 45% saying it’s more due to the way Facebook itself is run.

Overall, about a third of the public – including 44% Republicans and 27% Democrats – say both that Facebook makes American society worse and that Facebook itself is more at fault than its users.

About half of Americans, 49%, say they know someone they think has been persuaded to believe a conspiracy theory because of the content on Facebook. That number is higher among young Americans: 61% of adults under 35 say they know someone who has adopted a conspiracy theory based on Facebook content, compared to just 35% of people 65 or older.

Facebook faces a new wave of reviews following the release of the Facebook Papers, a set of internal company documents that shed light on the company’s culture, its spread of controversial content, and its struggle to manage incidents of disinformation and extremism that are brewing the site. Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who released the documents, testified before the Senate last month, urging Congress to strengthen regulation of the platform. Later in October, Facebook announced that the company’s name would be changed to Meta.

Just over half of Americans, 53%, currently say the federal government should increase its regulation of Facebook, with 11% saying the government should decrease its regulation of the platform and 35% that it should not change. .

A majority of 55% of Democrats currently support increased regulation of Facebook, with 48% of Republicans saying the same. About 44% of people who use Facebook at least several times a week say the government should strengthen its regulation of the site, compared to 66% of those who use the social media platform less frequently.

Among Americans who themselves use Facebook at least several times a month, a majority of 54% say that Facebook suggested posts to them that they found objectionable. Sixty-five percent of regular Facebook users under the age of 35 say they have seen objectionable content recommended by the site.

More generally, Americans also express little confidence in the good intentions of big tech companies, with 38% saying they don’t trust companies like Google, Facebook, or Amazon at all to do what’s best for them. users, compared to 29% in March 2019. Only 34% of Americans say they even trust big tech companies a little, down slightly from 40% two years ago.

A majority in both parties say they have little or no confidence in big tech companies to act in the best interests of their users, although this sentiment is more prevalent among the GOP – 71% of Republicans take this stance, against 58% of Democrats. That’s a bigger partisan gap than two years ago, when Republicans were just 5 percentage points more likely than Democrats to express distrust of these companies.

The CNN poll was conducted by the SSRS from November 1-4 among a random national sample of 1,004 adults surveyed online after being recruited using probabilistic methods. The results of the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.


About Alma Ackerman

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