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People in emerging economies around the globe are becoming wary of using social media for political news due to the rampant amount of misinformation spreading on those platforms, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

Expand chart
Adapted from a Pew Research Center chart; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: Social media has largely democratized ideas and information, but people in developing countries now say that the technology also makes it easier for politicians to manipulate them — meaning it isn't as reliable as in-person communications.

Details: A median of 57% of respondents from the 11 countries surveyed say that social media increases people's ability to have a meaningful voice in politics. A median of 65% say those same technologies increase the risk of manipulation by domestic politicians.

  • In most countries surveyed, a majority of respondents say that in-person discussions are more valuable to keeping up with political news than social media.

The big picture: This discrepancy between the net benefits and net problems caused by social media gets at the heart of the debate of how countries around the world should be thinking about social media regulation.

  • While most people in developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia say they still rely on social media to introduce them to new ideas and to promote the causes of non-profit groups, most say they don't trust the news circulated on those platforms.

The bottom line: Social media, once celebrated as a great equalizer, is also seen as a risky way to communicate about politics in many places around the world, largely due to increased fears of political weaponization.

Go deeper: Viral lies spread before Indian and Indonesian elections

Go deeper

13 mins ago - Technology

Facebook seeks fountain of youth

Data: Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens Study; Chart: Axios Visuals

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday said that the company is pivoting its strategy to focus on young adults, following reports that teens have fled its apps.

Why it matters: A series of stories based on leaked whistleblower documents suggest the company sees the aging of its user base as an existential threat to its business.

Too big to cover alone: Newsrooms team up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

News outlets are increasingly willing to work together on big, multifaceted stories — including this week's reporting on leaked documents from a Facebook whistleblower.

Why it matters: Collaborative efforts help bring more resources to bear on complex stories, some of which require a global reporting effort. But they require high degrees of coordination, and competition can sometimes get in the way.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Confidence in President Biden's ability to rescue the economy from COVID-19 has dropped since January, even as Americans' faith rises in his ability to make the vaccine widely accessible, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: It's Democrats and independents driving the declining economic confidence, from 52% of all U.S. adults at the start of his presidency to 44% now. Their softening faith could hinder Biden's ability to lead and hurt Democrats' position heading into the 2022 midterms.