A hot potato: Are social media sites politically biased? Almost three-quarters of Americans think so. According to a survey carried out by Pew Research Center, 72 percent of adults believe it’s somewhat likely that companies such as Facebook and Twitter censor political views they find objectionable.
Conducted between May 29 and June 1, the Pew study asked 4,594 people for their opinions on technology companies. While 62 percent of Democrats said social media might be censoring certain political views, the overwhelming majority—85 percent—of Republican and Republican-leaning adults believe this is the case. Additionally, 64 percent of Republicans think technology companies support the views of liberals over conservatives.
But this doesn’t mean Americans believe tech companies are bad. 74 percent say they have been good for them personally, though only 63 percent think the firms have had a positive impact on society as a whole.
The argument that tech firms suppress conservative views has been raging for many years. It was back in 2016 when an editorial team of Facebook contractors claimed they stopped articles from conservative sites appearing in the Trending Topics section, which was recently scrapped. The subject was also brought up during Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearing.
Facebook isn’t the only company to face the accusations. According to the Washington Post, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has had secret dinners with conservative leaders to discuss potential bias on the platform.
Last year, Google employee James Damore was fired for writing a 10-page manifesto titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” He went on to sue his former employer for allegedly discriminating against white, conservative males whose views contrast those of Google execs.
Ultimately, relatively few Americans trust major tech firms to do what is right, and 51 percent say they should be more tightly regulated.