Pew: 66% Want Censorship, Even More Don’t Trust Big Tech to Do It

How do Americans feel about Big Tech companies policing content? Most people are for it but even more people doubt the companies can do it properly.

Sixty-six percent of Americans, approximately 2/3rds of those surveyed say “social media companies have a responsibility to remove offensive content from their platforms,” according to the liberal Pew Research Center. 

Here’s where the problem comes in. Most Americans don’t trust them. Republicans have the lowest confidence in social media companies to police content fairly. Seventy-six percent, or more than three-quarters of Republicans polled, have little or no confidence in the Big Tech companies’ ability to police content.  

That breaks down with “far greater shares say they have not too much (42%) or no confidence at all (34%) in companies to make this determination.” Only “23% have confidence in social media companies to determine what content should be removed,” explained the report.  

Democrats aren’t much stronger in their beliefs about the companies’ abilities to watch over content. “Democrats also largely lack confidence in social media companies to determine what content should be removed, though they are somewhat more likely than Republicans to express at least a fair amount of confidence (37%).”

Interestingly enough only 31 percent have a great or even fair amount of confidence in these companies’ capability to distinguish between what should and should not be removed. 

The pro-censorship view is held much more widely by Democrats than Republicans. Three quarters of all Democrats surveyed support the companies restricting content. The polls indicate “three-quarters of Democrats (77%) say this, compared with 52% of Republicans and Republican leaners.”

According to the pollsters, “women (72%) are more likely than men (59%) to say social media companies have this responsibility, and gender differences are in evident in both parties.” [sic] Females are the majority among both Republicans and Democrats to be in favor of tech censorship: 

“About six-in-ten Republican women (62%) say this, compared with about four-in-ten Republican men (43%). And Democratic women (79%) are modestly more likely than Democratic men (73%) to say social media companies have this responsibility.”

In addition, “36% of women, compared with 25% of men” say they have at least a fair amount of confidence in these companies to perform this task responsibly. 

The polls indicate that “Blacks (74%) are more likely than whites (64%) and Hispanics (66%) to say social media companies should remove offensive content.”

They also appear to be more trusting of Big Tech platforms ability to police content:


“About half (48%) of black people express at least a fair amount of confidence in social media companies to determine what content should be removed, compared with just a quarter of whites. Four-in-ten Hispanics say they have at least a fair amount of confidence in companies to make this determination.”

A curious note however would be that youth are less likely to support censorship than older generations. 

While “about seven-in-ten of those older than 65 (73%)” say Big Tech companies should remove offensive content, only “59% of 18- to 29-year-olds say this.”

Strangely however, this seems to invert previous trends in that the youth polled are also more confident in the ability of social media companies to police content than older generations.


“Nearly four-in-ten 18- to 29-year-olds (38%) have a fair amount or great deal of confidence in social media companies to determine what content should be removed from their platforms, compared with just 24% of those ages 65 and older.”

Censorship Project

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