A new survey of American consumers commissioned by Axios shows that the majority of those surveyed (55%) agree with Apple that the government doesn’t so enough to regulate tech companies.
Silicon Valley has a big and growing problem: Americans have rising concerns with its most popular products and a growing majority wants big social media companies regulated, according to new poll conducted by Survey Monkey for “Axios on HBO.”
The public is more aware than ever of some of the negative consequences of the technologies that have changed their lives, which makes Silicon Valley and social media ripe political and regulatory targets
In the past year, there has been a 15-point spike in the number of people who fear the federal government won’t do enough to regulate big tech companies — with 55% now sharing this concern.
Social media in particular is a concern with Americans, with 57% saying they feel it hurts democracy and free speech. Just 40% believe social media helps.
Axios says two happenings in particular helped lead to a reversal of the views on tech regulation from just a year ago.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal opened consumers’ eyes to data security and privacy concerns around how their information is being shared with other entities.
The YouTube terrorist video scandal showed how easy it is for bad actors to weaponize platforms and algorithms.
The report shows that this subject is one of the few subjects that folks on both sides of the political aisle agree on:
Between the lines: This is a rare topic uniting Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
- Republicans have been alleging that these companies — often founded and still led by idealistic, progressive executives — censor conservative viewpoints.
- Democrats have taken issue over the past year with ways social media technologies, like niche ad-targeting, can be abused by people to discriminate against minorities.
Apple has lobbied for a federal privacy law. Company CEO Tim Cook first suggested back in March that federal tech regulation might be needed. He has doubled down on his calls in recent times. He recently commented that regulation of tech companies was “inevitable.”