Pew: 72% of Americans Say Social Media Companies Have Too Much Political Clout—They’re Right

July 27th, 2020 5:57 PM

Even in an election year as divided and chaotic as 2020, millions of Americans can seem to agree that Big Tech has too much political clout. 

An overwhelming majority of Americans are skeptical over Big Tech’s unchecked power, a Pew Research Center (Pew) study has found. In addition, about half of Americans surveyed also believe the government should do more to regulate them. “Overall, 72% of U.S. adults say social media companies have too much power and influence in politics today,” according to the June 16-22 survey Pew’s FactTank observed July 22. 

Even during a polarized election year, Americans across the political spectrum seem to agree that Big Tech needs to be brought to heel, as “Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats believe social media companies wield too much power.” That said, Republicans are more likely to hold this view as “Roughly eight-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (82%) think these companies have too much power and influence in politics, compared with 63% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.”

Even liberal Democrats are “somewhat more likely than moderate or conservative Democrats to agree with this assessment (68% vs. 60%).” In short, party hardliners of both the left and right share the common cause of calling for Big Tech companies’ power to be held in check.  

The Pew survey appears to show that this is continuation of previously observed trends. A previous survey demonstrated that “Republicans were more likely than Democrats to believe social media sites censor political viewpoints and that tech companies generally support liberal views over conservative ones.” Yet even so, both sides largely agree that Big Tech is a problem that needs to be dealt with. 

Within the GOP, even while disagreeing on other matters, voters are largely unified about this issue. The most recent study found that “nine-in-ten conservative Republicans (89%) think these companies have too much power,” while a slightly smaller majority (74%) “of moderate or liberal Republicans” largely agree. As a result, one salient development since 2018 that the article makes clear is that “Conservative Republicans are the only ideological group who have become more likely to favor increased regulation.”

This summer has been a crucible of Big Tech controversies, only accelerating the already present tensions of an election year. 

In late May, Twitter fact-checked President Donald Trump for suggesting that mail-in ballots could lead to voter fraud, a concern even The New York Times has acknowledged to be valid. While undermining the president of the United States, Twitter has racked up an impressive record of liberal bias, including allowing blatant Chinese propaganda to be spread among Americans.

Facebook censored Trump with a new policy that undermined his posts critiquing the hazards of mail-in voting by placing an interstitial showing users how and where to start the process themselves.

Google gave a measly mea culpa earlier this month after several conservative websites were delisted from its general search and appeared to have been blacklisted. Google critic Dr. Robert Epstein wrote that Google gave at least 2.6 million votes to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 and that it could sway “upward of 15 million votes” in the Democrats’ favor in 2020. Google Responsible Innovation Head Jen Gennai was caught in 2018 suggesting that “breaking up Google” would not “prevent the next Trump situation.” She also mused how changes in Google’s secret algorithms could have prevented his election from happening in the first place.

Apple snuck COVID-19 contract tracing technology into one of its phone updates back in May. The technology, in theory, would notify users when they enter the presence of a person with the coronavirus. This despite surveys that have shown that three in five Americans are either unable or entirely unwilling to use the technology.

Amazon brushed off concerns about letting an anti-Christian organization like SPLC decide which groups may receive funds, blocking pro-life and pro-family organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council from receiving funds. MRC President L. Brent Bozell announced that the Media Research Center would no longer accept money from the AmazonSmile program. He declared that “Any money from Amazon is tainted, hate-filled money that we want nothing to do with.”

Conservatives are under attack. This Wednesday, the CEO’s of major Big Tech companies, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Judiciary Committee Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law Subcommittee. Give the subcommittee a call at 202-225-3951 and demand that Big Tech be held to account. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.