Americans largely believe the tech industry has had a positive impact on their lives, but they also distrust social media companies, according to a new poll from insights and analytics company Ipsos.
The report, which sought to investigate Americans’ impressions of the tech sector, found that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of U.S. adults believe the tech industry positively affects their lives, and 81 percent think technology is a good and important part of contemporary society. In total, more than half (53 percent) reported favorable sentiments of technology companies.
However, 59 percent of Americans simultaneously expressed unfavorable views regarding social media companies, and only 45 percent said they trust these platforms.
Specifically, a majority of Americans said they like Google (74 percent), Amazon (70 percent), Microsoft (60 percent) and Apple (52 percent). Americans also overwhelmingly reported enjoying online stores and marketplaces (83 percent) as well as the ability to find things on the Internet (88 percent) and the use of video chat or conference systems (71 percent).
As far as social media is concerned, on the other hand, a majority of those polled (44 percent) said they hold an unfavorable view of Twitter. When it comes to Facebook, Americans appear somewhat ambivalent (46 percent unfavorable, compared to 45 favorable). A majority of those polled still retain favorable views of YouTube (70 percent) and Instagram (40 percent).
Regardless of Americans’ apparent antipathy for social media, however, most (61 percent) still said that, if given a choice, they’d rather keep the technology sector as it is, warts and all. And most oppose the idea of the government limiting what can be said on social media (57 percent), although more than a third (38 percent) believe the government should take a more active role in policing private-sector misbehavior. More than half (53 percent) also believe that significant change in the tech world is unlikely anyway, as that sector is too essential for our daily lives.
That said, 60 percent believe the degree of political bias exhibited by the tech sector is a major problem. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) believe the amount of bad behavior the tech sector lets people get away with is a major problem. About two-thirds (64 percent) support the idea of breaking up large, monopolistic technology companies.
More than three-quarters (79 percent) said they’re concerned about social media-driven radicalization in the United States. More than two-thirds (69 percent) believe the U.S. mainstream media is more interested in making money than telling the truth.
Findings for the report were based on two Ipsos surveys, one which polled 1,022 U.S. adults in September and another which polled 1,016 U.S. adults in October. Both surveys were conducted using opinion research unit KnowledgePanel.