The vast majority of Americans believe that Facebook is making American society worse, according to a new CNN poll.
About 76% of US adults said the social network makes society worse while just 11% believe it makes society better. Another 13% said the platform has “no effect” on society.
Even 70% of frequent Facebook users agreed that the company does more harm than good.
But Americans are more split on who is to blame.
About 55% believe the problem is that the way “some people use Facebook” while 45% believe the problem is the way “Facebook itself is run.”
About half of Americans say they know someone who they think believes in a conspiracy theory because of information they found on Facebook, including 61% of adults under 35.
About half say that the federal government should regulate Facebook more while 35% say it should not change and 11% say the government should regulate it less.
Is it users’ fault?:
The second question underscores the uphill battle that Facebook whistleblowers and critics have in highlighting what they believe is the real issue with the company: the algorithm.
While Facebook users can and often do post objectionable content, the company’s algorithm feeds users increasingly extremist content, experts argue.
But the company says that the algorithm is based on user preferences and feeds users content that they would want to view.
Critics also say the company’s algorithm boosts posts that have angry or other engagements more than those that get likes.
Congress has introduced a bill that would require Facebook and other big platforms to allow users to opt into an algorithm-free version.
Tech distrust grows:
The poll found that Americans generally have little trust in tech platforms at large.
Two-thirds of respondents said they have little trust in big tech firms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon to do what is best for their users or none at all, while 34% said they have some or a great deal of trust in the companies.
Tech firms have found themselves in the middle of a raging culture war with both sides gunning for their platforms. Conservatives have accused the platforms of censoring their speech, though there is little evidence this is the case. Liberals say the platforms feed disinformation and harmful content to unwitting masses.