Strong majorities think Big Tech is biased, has too much control of news flow: Pew study
October 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Strong majorities of Americans agree with the charge that the world’s top social networks are politically biased and exert too much influence over what users see, according to a survey released this month by Pew Research Center.
The survey of 5,107 U.S. adults finds that 82 percent believe social media companies “treat some news organizations differently than others,” 79 percent believe they do so to favor sources “whose coverage has a certain political stance,” and 62 percent think the companies “have too much control over the news people see.”
Notably, only 34 percent of respondents believe platforms favor certain news sources on the basis of “high reporting standards,” and just 18 percent believe they favor sources “whose coverage is politically neutral.”
Forty-eight percent respondents said the news posts they see via social platforms generally lean left-of-center, and respondents named “one-sided” and “inaccurate news” as their top two concerns with the issue.
“Republicans and Democrats disagree somewhat about which issues on social media are very big problems, especially when it comes to censorship and harassment,” Pew’s Elisa Shearer and Elizabeth Grieco observe. “Republicans and Republican leaners are more likely to see censorship of the news as a very big problem on social media (43 percent) than Democrats and Democratic leaners (30 percent). Democrats, on the other hand, are about twice as likely as Republicans to say that harassment of journalists is a very big problem (36 percent vs. 17 percent).”
“Previous Pew studies have found plummeting trust in social media companies among Americans,” Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari added. ”As Breitbart’s Sean Moran reported earlier this year, Americans’ trust in social media companies has fallen by 21 points from 2015 to 2019.”
All of America’s top social media platforms have come under fire for bias over the last few years.
Facebook has been criticized for suppressing and otherwise discriminating against many right-of-center pages and posts, and multiple analyses have found that Facebook’s algorithm changes instituted at the beginning of 2018 disproportionately impacted conservative politicians and websites. Earlier this year, an insider revealed that Facebook “deboosts” traffic to several mainstream conservative sites.
Dr. Robert Epstein, a research psychologist with the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, estimates that Google’s search results swung 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016 (potentially accounting for the Democrat nominee’s popular-vote margin of just under 2.9 million). Epstein also testified that he has identified “nine different blacklists Google maintains to suppress information worldwide.” Google-owned YouTube has also restricted videos from several prominent conservatives, such as Dennis Prager.
Twitter, meanwhile, holds the mere act of “misgendering” someone — i.e., referring to a user by his sex rather than his chosen “gender identity” — to be “hateful conduct,” yet has let stand violent and hateful tweets directed at conservatives. There have been a long series of bans and suspensions affecting non-violent, non-obscene tweets from right-of-center perspectives (including LifeSiteNews), and Twitter insiders have admitted to intentionally targeting conservative accounts and topics.