Apr 29, 2022 - Technology

Exclusive poll: Americans support removing troubling tweets

How will Elon Musk affect the quality of Twitter discussion?
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: Numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Elon Musk is likely to find out that there's not a big market for his campaign for more free speech on Twitter, according to an Ipsos poll shared exclusively with Axios.

The big picture: Most Americans don't have a problem with Twitter or other social media companies removing posts that include misinformation, promote violence or pose a risk to the public, according to the poll.

  • They're more likely to oppose the removal of posts that promote political action or contain heated political rhetoric.

By the numbers: 73% of all respondents said they support removing posts that probably have false information, with just 20% saying they oppose removing those posts.

  • 83% said they support removing posts that promote violence against particular individuals or groups.
  • 79% said they support removing posts that pose a risk to the public.
  • Americans are more divided on taking down political posts. Just 47% support removing posts that promote political action, while 40% oppose it.
  • And 54% support removing posts that contain heated political rhetoric, with 36% opposed.

Between the lines: The poll also found that most Americans don't have strong opinions about what Musk's deal to buy Twitter will mean to the social media platform — unless they're extremely online.

  • Just 39% of all respondents said Musk will improve the quality of discussion on Twitter, while 22% said it would get worse.
  • But among self-described heavy Twitter users, 52% said his involvement would improve the quality of discussion, while 29% said it would get worse.
  • Likewise, 44% of all respondents said Musk would lead Twitter to allow greater free speech, while 12% said he'd allow less free speech. But among heavy Twitter users, 54% said his involvement would lead to greater free speech, while 21% said it would result in less free speech.
  • For non-users, by far the most common response was "don't know." (About four out of 10 said that about both questions.)

Methodology: This Ipsos Poll was conducted April 26-27 from a sample of 1,000 adults age 18 or older, randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling.

  • The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for all respondents.
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