Most Americans Want More Tech Regulation

We all hear a lot about the tech sectors’ problems when it comes to spreading “Fake news” and its products’ addictive nature, but when could this narrative actually impact these companies’ operations, possibly for the worse? We’ve always believed it comes down to regulation, if and when that happens. With heavy lobby spending in DC on behalf of big tech, it’ll likely require pressure from those who keep politicians in office. Yes, the voters.

The pressure may be building, as a new survey by Axios and Survey Monkey shows a growing concern among Americans that the government won’t do enough to regulate technology companies. Based on +3,574 US adults polled from February 21st-23rd, 55% were worried the government wouldn’t do enough compared to just four in ten Americans in an earlier poll after Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified before Congress this past November. Even 45% Republicans had similar concerns compared to just 31% in early November, while “Independents showed the biggest shift with an increase of 20 percentage points”.

Even though the majority of Americans surveyed believe that technology has had a positive effect on society and tech companies have helped the economy, they aren’t giving the sector as a much of a free pass as in the past. At the crux of the issue:

  • “More than eight in 10 — including big majorities across party lines — blame the technology companies for not doing more to safeguard their platforms against election interference.”
  • “When asked whether social media does more to help promote democracy and free speech or does more to hurt democracy and free speech, most Americans (55%) now say social media does more to hurt democracy and free speech than it helps.”

With the midterm elections coming up in November, this is not an issue that will go away. As it stays in the forefront of voters’ minds, the government may want to implement regulations on tech companies to instill greater confidence in Americans about having a fair election process. The Trump Administration isn’t a fan of new regulations, but as this poll shows it is becoming a bigger problem for the Republican base which the party needs to keep control of the House and Senate. Whatever form this may take remains to be seen, but the trend is not tech’s friend.

Source: Axios Survey