Americans Want Social and Tech Platforms to Prevent Misuse as the Election Approaches

But Pew Research Center found that they don’t trust those companies to do so

Just 5% of respondents were very confident in tech companies' ability to prevent misuse AntonioGuillem/iStock
Headshot of David Cohen

Over three-quarters of Americans believe that social and technology platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google are responsible to prevent misuse of their platforms to influence November’s presidential election, but nearly three-quarters also have little or no confidence in them to do so.

Pew Research Center polled 12,638 U.S. adults from Jan. 6 through 19 and shared its findings in a blog post.

Pew found that 43% of respondents were not too confident in social and tech platforms to prevent misuse in the run-up to the election, and 31% were not at all confident.

Meanwhile, just 20% were somewhat confident, and a paltry 5% were very confident.

There was barely any difference among party lines, as 76% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents had little or no confidence, while that number was 74% for Democrats and Democratic leaners.

When examined by age, more than eight out of 10 respondents 50 and older expressed little or no confidence in social and tech platforms, compared with 74% of those 18 through 29 and 72% for the 30-through-49 group.

Pew also found that 31% in the 18-through-29 age group were at least somewhat confident that these companies would prevent misuse of their platforms, while that figure dropped to 20% for respondents 65 and older.

Pew Research Center

According to Pew, 78% of respondents believe social and tech platforms have the responsibility to prevent misuse aimed at influencing the election, with little change among party lines (81% for Democrats, 75% for Republicans).

Older respondents were more likely to put the onus on the companies, with more than eight out of 10 of those 50 and older doing so, compared with 74% of those 18 through 29 and 72% of the 30-through-49 age group.

Pew Research Center

Hannah Gilberstadt, a research assistant focusing on U.S. politics and policy at Pew, wrote in the blog post, “Confidence in technology companies to prevent the misuse of their platforms is even lower than it was in the weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, when about two-thirds of adults had little confidence that these companies would prevent election influence on their platforms.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.