Feb 4, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: Poll shows wide distrust of tech, media

Illustration of a facebook like icon shaped like a briefcase with a thumb pointing down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans largely think tech giants are too big and should be regulated, and mostly don't believe the news media is good for U.S. society, according to a poll from YouGov and the Center for Growth and Opportunity shared exclusively with Axios.

Why it matters: After an ugly election season marred by extremism on social and traditional media, people are feeling wary of the places they consume news and share their personal information.

  • The findings show that tech companies and news organizations have a lot of work to do to maintain and grow trust.

By the numbers: The poll, which has a 3.3% margin of error, surveyed 1,000 people shortly after the 2020 presidential election. Of those participants, two-thirds said social media companies should ban hate groups.

  • 63% of baby boomers polled said the government should regulate social media, while 40% of Generation Z agreed.
  • Two-thirds of those polled say big tech companies are too big, although less than half said they think the government should break them up.
  • There's a range of opinions on which tech companies are most trustworthy: 40% of 996 people polled said they "completely distrust" Facebook on handling personal data. For Google, that number was 22%; for Amazon, it was 14%; for Microsoft, it was 15%.

Views on the news: 69% of those polled say news companies and media outlets should be fined for reporting biased or inaccurate information.

  • 29% of participants "somewhat agree" that most news coverage is good for American society.

Between the lines: Despite the mixed feelings on social media and traditional news, there's little consensus on what should be done about it.

Go deeper