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New Poll: Voters Believe Social Media Companies are Profiting from Conspiracies and Lies, Driving Divisions in America

WASHINGTON -

New Data for Progress polling released this morning shows that a strong majority of voters believe social media companies like Facebook are profiting from the conspiracies and lies that are driving division in America. The survey was conducted with input from expert disinformation analyst Jiore Craig, polled national likely voters’ attitudes toward social media and their view of its effects in amplifying election lies and conspiracies, and degrading national unity. The results of the survey can be viewed here.

Taken with findings from an additional recent Data for Progress survey of likely voters around attitudes toward social media, evidence that voters are concerned about social media companies and their role in spreading and amplifying conspiracies continues to pile on.

The research also found that a majority of voters (66%) strongly agree that social media CEOs made money off election lies and conspiracies - a finding that comes just days after it was reported that Donald Trump's campaign has resumed advertising on Facebook despite Trump being “banned” from the platform for 2 years. 

Additional, the survey also found that: 

  • A large majority (68%) agree that once a user is hooked on a conspiracy they learn about on social media, it is very hard to change their minds.

  • A majority of voters (63%), also believe that companies actively allowed conspiracies and lies to circultate because it kept users hooked on their product as opposed to taking any action to stop the amplification of lies.

  • A majority of voters (61%) think that YouTube and Facebook drive division in this country more than they promote unity.

The survey underscores the fact that despite partisan divisions in the country, voters are mostly united in the way they see social media companies and their CEOs benefitting from election lies and conspiracies. Going forward, as legislators respond to these concerns, this data suggests that social media CEOs may face more intense pressure to answer for their commitment to profit over user safety and protecting our democratic system.

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Data for Progress is a multidisciplinary group of experts using state-of-the-art techniques in data science to support progressive activists and causes.

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