Most Voters Think Social Media Platforms Have A Duty To Thwart Misinformation

Ariel Edwards-Levy
·2 min read
 (NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Most voters think social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have a responsibility to prevent users from spreading conspiracies or false information on their sites, a HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

Voters say, 62% to 26%, that social media outlets have such an obligation. The poll also shows that 72% say social media outlets have a duty to prevent users from harassing others on sites, and 66% say that the outlets have a responsibility to prevent users from posting hate speech or racist content.

Asked about the way social media outlets regulate the content posted to their sites, 47% say the effort is not strict enough, with 23% calling it too strict, 10% saying it’s about right and the rest unsure. In terms of bias, 41% think such outlets generally tilt in favor of liberal views, with just 10% believing they’re generally prejudiced toward conservative views. Another 23% think they’re not biased either way, with about a quarter unsure.

Views on these questions appear largely unchanged since 2018, when 48% of voters said in a HuffPost/YouGov poll that social media outlets were not being strict enough, and 38% that they were biased in favor of liberal views.

Questions about social media’s role in combating disinformation have recurred throughout the 2020 election cycle. Facebook and Twitter have drawn ire from across the ideological spectrum, but President Donald Trump and other Republicans have been especially vocal with claims of anti-conservative bias by the outlets.

Most recently, Twitter changed its rules relating to hacked content after initially blocking links to a dubiously sourced New York Post article about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The nation’s overall political polarization was evident in poll responses. For instance, 81% of Democratic voters, compared to roughly half of Republican voters, think the platforms have a responsibility to stem the flow of conspiracies or false information....

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