About 3 in 4 Americans say Facebook is making society worse, but they’re split on placing the fault on the platform itself, according to a new poll.
Among the 76 percent of surveyed Americans who said the platform makes society worse, 55 percent said the blame primarily lies with the way “some people use Facebook” and 45 percent said it rests more on “the way Facebook itself is run,” according to the CNN poll released Wednesday.
Although the majority of both Democratic and Republican respondents, 70 and 82 percent respectively, said Facebook makes society worse, responses on which reason is at fault are split more along partisan lines.
Sixty-one percent of Democrats said the way some people use the platform is to blame, while just 46 percent of Republicans said the same. And only 39 percent of Democrats said the way Facebook itself is run is at fault, compared to 54 percent of Republicans who shared the sentiment, based on the poll.
Facebook critics have said the company hasn’t gone far enough to weed out false information and conspiracy theories on the platform, including misinformation about the election and the coronavirus pandemic.
Half of survey respondents — 51 percent — said they know someone personally who they think was persuaded to believe in a conspiracy theory because of content on Facebook, based on the poll.
Facebook has defended its content moderation practices, touting its fact-checking program and the labels applied to some posts to give further context or to link back to information centers with authoritative content.
Nonetheless, Democrats have pushed the platform to do more. In addition to congressional pressure, the Biden administration urged Facebook and other platforms to take greater action specifically surrounding health and vaccine misinformation, with the surgeon general issuing an advisory in July.
About half of surveyed Americans — 53 percent — said the federal government should increase its regulation of Facebook. Another 35 percent said the government shouldn’t change, while just 11 percent said it should decrease such efforts, based on the poll.
The poll surveyed 1,004 adults across the U.S from Nov. 1 to 4. Thirty-five percent of respondents included in the sample described themselves as Democrats, 29 percent described themselves as Republicans and 36 percent described themselves as independents or members of another party. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.
The poll was published as Facebook faces mounting scrutiny over its policies after company whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked documents, leading to a wave of reports about the company’s internal research and indicating that executives were slow to take action to combat known issues.
Facebook, now under the parent name Meta, has pushed back on the reports, arguing that the internal research is being mischaracterized.