The Pew Research center has released the results of a new poll that shows Americans of both parties do not support limitations on internet freedoms in order to fight so-called “false info” on social media.
A majority (58 percent) of Americans agreed with the statement that “freedom of information should be protected,” even if means “false info can be published.” This included a majority (57 percent) of Democrats.
Only 39 percent said that the U.S. government should “take steps to reduce false info online, even if it limits freedom of info.”
Participants were more supportive (56 percent) of tech companies doing so — largely thanks to 60 percent of Democrats supporting tech companies’ crackdowns. A majority of Republican participants also opposed tech companies limiting freedom of information.
Opposition to censorship of social media by both the government and tech companies was particularly strong among younger generations. 66 percent of the 18-29 demographic opposed the government restricting freedom of information to fight “false info,” and 56 percent of the same demographic opposed tech companies doing so.
This compared to an even split among the 65-plus generation on government censorship. The 65-plus demo also supported tech companies limiting freedom of information by 64 percent, as did the 50-64 age demographic.
There was also a gender gap — 10 percent more men than women said the government should not restrict freedom of information to fight “false info,” although a slim majority (53 percent) of women agreed.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a session next week on the subject of social media censorship. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), one of the leading voices on the issue, will give evidence. So will Diamond & Silk, the pro-Trump internet duo whose censorship by Facebook became national news during the Zuckerberg hearings last week. Representatives from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Google, Facebook, and Twitter have also been invited.