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Americans divided on social media censorship: Pew survey

Are your political views being censored by social media sites? In these polarizing times it won't shock you to discover that Republicans and Democrats arrive at very different conclusions.

Roughly three-fourths of U.S. adults overall say it is very (37%) likely or somewhat likely (36%) that such sites censor political viewpoints they find objectionable, according to an online poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. But Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to say that major tech companies favor the views of liberals over conservatives.

Pew surveyed 4,708 U.S. adults in the poll which was conducted between June 16 and June 22.

Americans are also divided over whether social media companies should label posts on their sites as inaccurate or misleading. Fully 73% of Democrats are in favor of such a measure, compared to 71% of Republicans who disapprove of the practice. By a 50% to 11% margin, people in the GOP are far more likely than Democratics to say they have no confidence that social media outlets can determine which posts on the platforms should be accurately labeled in such a way.

Debates on the topic have been roiling since at least May when Twitter began slapping fact-checking labels on some of President Trump’s tweets. In June, caving to pressure from ad boycotts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reversed his own hands-off policy and indicated that the social network would start labeling harmful posts by politicians.

Among other key Pew findings:

*Ideology plays a huge difference. By a margin of 70% to 44%, conservative Republicans are are more likely than moderate or liberal members of the party to say that it is very likely that social media sites intentionally censor objectionable viewpoints. Meanwhile 20% of moderate or conservative Democrats and 18% of liberal Democrats share this view.

*A plurality of Americans say major tech companies tend to support the views of liberals over conservatives (43% to 13%), while 39% say major tech companies share the views of conservatives and liberals equally.

What are your views on the topic? Email:; Follow @edbaig on Twitter


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