- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2020

Roughly half of registered voters surveyed, including most Republican and Democrats, support totally shutting down social media services during the week of the U.S. presidential election, a poll showed Friday.

Fifty-two percent of 1,000 voters surveyed this month said they support pulling the plug on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter the week of the election, according to the polling.

Respondents who voiced support for shutting down social media services during the span include 54% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans surveyed.

Sixty-two percent said they are not confident social media companies can prevent election-related misinformation, and 91% believe they should do more to prevent it from proliferating, the poll showed.

The survey was commissioned by Accountable Tech, an advocacy group focused on fighting the spread of online misinformation. It was conducted by data analytics firm GQR and first reported exclusively by Axios.

“There’s a pretty staggering level of concern for how ill-prepared social media platforms are for this election. I mean, a majority of voters effectively said, ‘Screw it, shut it all down.’ That’s not to say we should do that, but it sends a clear message to Silicon Valley that they need to step up,” Accountable Tech founder Jesse Lehrich told Axios, the news site reported.

Other recent polling has indicated a majority of Americans believe social media companies should reconsider their policies with respect to political content, meanwhile.

More than half of 10,000 people surveyed recently as part of a separate poll said that social media companies should outright ban political advertisements, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday.

Twitter banned political ads last year. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company will reject political ads in the week before Election Day.

GCR conducted the most recent poll between Sept. 10-14, and it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, according to Accountable Tech. Election Day is Nov. 3.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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