- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Most adults surveyed in a recent nationwide poll said the government should play a part in deciding what sorts of content can be shared on social media, pollsters said Wednesday.

Conducted by Morning Consult, the poll asked 2,200 people if they believe the government should be involved in regulating the content moderation policies social media companies use for their services, such as updating the laws governing how legally responsible companies are for content posted on their platforms.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they agree the government should become involved in crafting social media moderation policies, 29 percent said they disagreed and 12% had no opinion.

The same poll also found that distrust to a degree letting social media companies moderate their own platforms, meanwhile. One-in-four people surveyed reported having “no confidence at all” in social media companies to successfully remove false information from their platforms, while roughly one-in-five answered similarly about companies removing content deemed offensive, hateful or harassing.

Only one-in-ten respondents, at most, said they currently have a “great deal of confidence” in social media companies successfully removing content that is considered either offensive, fake, hateful or harassing, according to the survey.



Social media companies have repeatedly faced calls recently to help curb the spread of prohibited content on their platforms, including notably after a gunman used Facebook to broadcast a mass shooting in March at a mosque in New Zealand and copies of the recording subsequently appeared on other sites soon afterward.

More recently, Amazon’s Twitch service confirmed Wednesday that its platform was used to broadcast a deadly rampage that took place earlier in the day outside a synagogue in Germany.

A bipartisan report released Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee involving the use of social media by Russians to interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election warned that platforms risk being weaponized in next year’s White House race, meanwhile.

“Any solution has to balance America’s national security interests with our constitutionally-protected right to free speech. Social media companies, federal agencies, law enforcement, and Congress must work together to address these challenges,” said Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican and chair of the intel committee.

Morning Consult’s survey was conducted between August 21 and 24, and it has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, according to the company.

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