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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Fifty-two percent of voters support shutting down social media platforms altogether for the week of the presidential election, according to a poll from GQR research shared exclusively with Axios.

The big picture: Tech companies have aggressively rolled out new guardrails around misinformation related to the election and taken down numerous foreign-led meddling campaigns this year, but critics continue to fear that social media is a vector for domestic and foreign deceit.

Context: In the run-up to the election, Twitter has banned political advertising altogether, Facebook is banning new political ads a week before election day and YouTube announced a crackdown on deceptive ads this summer.

Details: The survey, commissioned by Accountable Tech, questioned 1,000 registered voters in early September. Some notable results:

  • 52% support shutting down social media platforms for the week of the election (54% Democrats and 51% Republicans).
  • 79% say social media companies should "do more to protect democracy."
  • Facebook is the most used social platform (65%), but 52% hold unfavorable views of it, and it is the least trusted news source compared to other social media and traditional media.
  • 62% say they are not confident social media companies can prevent election-related misinformation, and 91% think social media companies should do more to prevent its spread.
  • 82% support placing warning labels on accounts spreading false information about voting and 85% support blocking posts calling for violence or spreading election misinformation altogether.

What they're saying: "There's a pretty staggering level of concern for how ill-prepared social media platforms are for this election. I mean, a majority of voters effectively said, 'Screw it, shut it all down.' That's not to say we should do that, but it sends a clear message to Silicon Valley that they need to step up," Jesse Lehrich, founder of Accountable Tech, told Axios.

Go deeper

Oct 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

Oct 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Twitter labels tweet from RT implying voter fraud in U.S. elections

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter on Thursday labeled a tweet from Russian state media outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) that included a video implying widespread voter fraud is plaguing, and potentially delegitimizing, the U.S. election.

Why it matters: It's the first time Twitter has labeled RT's account with a civic integrity label, or a designation used to highlight efforts to manipulate or interfere in elections or other civic processes.

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.