While a slim majority of Americans still want social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to allow unrestricted free speech on their platforms, a solid majority of Democrats want the platforms to regulate content that might offend “some people,” a new survey by Rasmussen Reports finds.
The national survey of 1,000 American adults, conducted January 4-5, 2022, asked the following question:
“Which is better – for the owners of social media like Facebook and Twitter to regulate what is posted to make sure some people are not offended or to allow free speech without interference?”
The 51% of Americans today who say the social media platforms should allow “free speech without interference” is down from the 61% who felt that way in January of 2018, Rasmussen notes. Those who want content regulated so as not to offend some people has risen from 26% to 35% over that same time period. Others are “not sure.”
Among Democrats, the desire to ban potentially offensive content has more than doubled, from 25% in January of 2018 to 57% today. Americans who identify as neither Democrat nor Republican favor free speech over censorship by a margin of 54% to 26%, with 20% unsure.
Desire for social media censorship of posts that might upset some people rises steadily with income, from 27% of those earning less than $30,000 a year to 52% of those making more than $200,000 annually.
By employment, government workers (44%) are more likely to want platforms to regulate social media posts than are those who either work in other sectors or are retired, the survey finds.