New Poll Says Americans Agree Misinformation is ‘Harmful’ to Public
Nearly all Americans agree that the rampant spread of misinformation is a problem. Most also think social media companies, and the people that use them, bear a good deal of blame for the situation.
But few are very concerned that they themselves might be responsible, according to a new poll from The Pearson Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Ninety-five percent of Americans identified misinformation as “a problem” when they’re trying to access important information. About half put a great deal of blame on the U.S. government, and about three-quarters point to social media users and tech companies. Yet only 2 in 10 Americans say they’re very concerned that they have personally spread misinformation. More, about 6 in 10, are at least somewhat concerned that their friends or family members have been part of the problem. Most adults report that social media companies, social media users, U.S. politicians, and the U.S. government all bear responsibility for addressing the spread of misinformation.
"News broke this week that AT&T, the world’s largest communications company, is single-handedly bankrolling One America News, which spreads white supremacist propaganda, conspiracy theories, and COVID-19 misinformation on AT&T’s DirecTV."
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) October 8, 2021
The survey finds that three-quarters of Americans worry at least somewhat that they have been exposed to misinformation, but only about half are similarly concerned that they’ve spread misinformation, even unintentionally. Younger adults are more likely than older adults to worry that they have spread misinformation.
More than 728,000 Americans are dead and Facebook is still spreading misinformation about Covid and vaccines. #DeleteZuckerberg
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) October 8, 2021
More Americans say that social media companies, social media users, and U.S. politicians are responsible for spreading misinformation than the U.S. government, Russia, China, Iran, or other foreign governments. Older adults are more likely than younger adults to hold foreign governments responsible, while Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say the U.S. government is responsible (61% vs. 38%).
"We've seen, very clearly, that misinformation costs lives," Surgeon General Murthy says. https://t.co/y933ZKC3l3
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 8, 2021