Oct 31, 2017

Majority of Americans are wary of regulating big tech

Calls to regulate technology platforms like Google and Facebook aren't likely to result in new regulations anytime soon — and that's fine by a narrow majority of people who say they are concerned the government will go too far, according to an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

Expand chart

Data: SurveyMonkey poll conducted from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26. Poll data. Poll methodology; Chart: Axios Visuals

The backdrop: Top lawyers for Google, Facebook and Twitter will appear before a Senate subcommittee today to be grilled about how Russian actors used their platforms to target U.S. voters with divisive messages ahead of the 2016 presidential election. And some politicians on the left and right are calling for more scrutiny of the largest tech platforms as their power grows.

Bottom line: For all the ominous talk, a Republican Congress isn't going to clamp down too harshly on the tech companies, outside of the possibility of requiring new disclosures for paid political ads on their platforms. At least for now. That means that the congressional hearings over the next two days are mostly for show and to create some headaches for companies whose executives often avoid Capitol Hill appearances.

Additional stats:

  • 73% of respondents identifying as "very conservative Republicans" are worried about government overreach, compared to just 32% of those who identify as "very liberal Democrats."
  • 65% of very liberal Democrats say the government won't do enough to regulate how U.S. tech companies operate, while only 27% of very conservative Republicans feel that way.
  • Voters in both Trump states and Clinton states responded remarkably similarly, however: 53% of Trump state voters and 50% of Clinton state voters said they worry the government will go too far in restricting how U.S. tech companies operate.
  • 51% of all respondents say the government should not regulate major U.S. tech companies like public utilities; 45% say it should.

The hearing starts at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. Livestream here.

(Survey methodology: The data reported here come from an online survey conducted by SurveyMonkey Oct. 23-26, among 5,474 adults and has a modeled error margin of 2 percentage points. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.)

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 5,695,155 — Total deaths: 355,688 — Total recoveries — 2,351,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 1,699,933 — Total deaths: 100,442 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Protesters and police clash during demonstration on Wednesday over the death of George Floyd in custody outside the Third Police Precinct. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Minneapolis police clashed for a second night with protesters demonstrating the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody.

The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted late Wednesday that the situation where the clashes were taking place was "extremely dangerous" as he urged people to leave the area. There were multiple news reports of police firing tear gas at protesters and of some people looting a Target store.

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers sue CVS, alleging drug pricing fraud

Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Six Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have sued CVS Health, alleging the pharmacy chain overcharged them based on "artificially inflated prices" for generic drugs and concealed the true cash prices of those drugs.

The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.