Pew: 75% of Republicans Say Socials Have Too Much Control Over News; 43% Call Censorship ‘Very Big Problem’

By Craig Bannister | October 4, 2019 | 12:39pm EDT
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Three-quarters of U.S. adults who are, or lean, Republican say social media sites, like Facebook, have too much control over the news that users see, a new national Pew Research survey finds.

The survey of 5,107 U.S. adults who are members of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, conducted July 8-21, 2019, finds that 75% of Republicans say social media sites have “too much control” over news posts viewed – and 66% say that results in a “worse mix” of the news they see.

Social media site censorship of news content is considered a “very big problem” by 43% of Republicans and Republican-leaners - and, nearly two-thirds (64%) say the posts they see are generally more liberal than moderate or conservative. The liberal news bias is also recognized by all U.S.

Social media site bias favoring liberal news is also recognized by all U.S. adults, with 48% saying that posts skew liberal, compared to only 14% who say posts favors conservative news and 36% who feel the mix of news seen on social media sites is balanced (“moderate”).

The results are consistent with those of a Media Research Center (MRC)/McLaughlin and Associates survey published in July finding that three-quarters of conservatives do not trust Facebook to treat all of its users equally, as MRC’s NewsBusters reported at the time:

“According to the poll, 76.7 percent of conservatives polled do not trust Facebook to treat all of its users equally. However, the majority of people polled also expressed a similar opinion, with 63.4 percent of those polled saying they did not trust Facebook to treat all of its users equally.”

The findings of these two studies come at a time when Americans’ reliance on social media sites for news is increasing. From 2016 to 2019, the percentage of U.S. adults who get their news at least “sometimes” from social media sites has increased from 44% to 54%. Likewise, those who get their news from social media “often” has risen from 18% in 2016 to 28% today.

Facebook is Americans’ favorite social media news source, as 52% of U.S. adults say they get their news from Facebook, and 73% of Facebook users get news there.


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