Pew Finds Republicans And Democrats Agree On Something: Social Media's Negative Impact

Despite political party affiliations, Americans are far more likely to say social media has a negative rather than positive impact on the country, while the majority also believe social media companies hold too much influence in politics and censorship, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center.

While 10% of Americans describe social media as having a mostly positive impact on the country, roughly two-thirds (64%) think social media has a mostly negative effect on the way the country is operating –– a number that has remained static since 2020.

However, although the same number of Americans remain concerned with the impact of social media, a growing number of Democrats (from 53% in 2020 to 59% now) believe major social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and X have mostly hurt the country.

Interestingly, the share of Republicans who think social media has had a negative effect is shrinking, from 78% in 2020 to 71% now.



More Democrats (up from 63% in 2020 to 74% now) believe social-media companies also wield too much power and influence over politics, while Republicans (84%) have held the same sentiment over the past four years. 

In addition, 16% say these platforms have a healthy amount of political influence, while only 4% think they should have more power over politics.

Across political lines, Americans think social media sites actively censor political viewpoints they disagree with, including 83% of U.S. adults -- up 6% from 2020.

Over 90% of Republicans hold this sentiment, compared to 77% of Democrats. However, only 25% of Democrats say this is very likely happening now, compared to 66% of Republicans.

In terms of government regulation, the majority of Americans (51%) agree that big tech needs more regulation, but Democrats are more supportive of this viewpoint than Republicans. 60% of Democrats believe the government should regulate major tech companies, while only 45% of Republicans think so. In 2020, both parties felt similarly on the matter, with 48% of Republicans and 46% of Democrats vying for more regulation.

While the issue of government regulation in this industry is contentious and complex, the majority of Americans hold the same view as some major social media companies, like Meta, which controls Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Horizon Worlds. In 2021, the company launched a video ad series calling for improved regulations of social media and has held the same belief since. As social media plays a larger part in political campaigns and public perception, Meta and other social media companies do not want to be responsible for calling the shots on suppressing certain voices and weeding out every piece of misinformation.

Americans have wanted more government regulation over their social feeds for years. While they have risen and fallen over the past six years, from 44% in 2022 to 56% in 2021, Pew Research says that the share of Americans who think tech companies should be regulated more is identical to what the Center found in 2018.

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