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Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

A majority of Americans think social media "has played a role in radicalizing people," according to a new poll from Accountable Tech and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner shared exclusively with Axios.

The big picture: As misinformation proliferates online about COVID-19, vaccines and politics, social platforms are walking a tightrope between protecting freedom of speech and tamping down the flow of misleading content.

  • Online platforms have taken major steps to reduce the amount of misinformation and extremist content online, especially since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, but it's a never-ending challenge.

By the numbers: In an online poll of 1000 registered voters taken Jan. 28-31, 44% of respondents strongly agreed and 41% somewhat agreed with the statement that social media has played a role in radicalizing people.

  • 71% of respondents said the federal government should impose stronger regulation on social media platforms, and 74% said misinformation on social media is an extremely or very serious problem.
  • On the suspension of former president Donald Trump from Twitter, Facebook and other platforms, 47% of respondents said it came too late, 16% said it came at the right time, and 37% opposed the suspensions altogether.
  • 76% said social media platforms are at least somewhat responsible for the Capitol riot, and 7 in 10 said the riot was the result of years of unchecked extreme behavior online.
  • One in three people polled have seen posts online supportive of the Capitol attackers, 39% polled have seen posts promoting political violence and 37% polled have seen posts urging people not to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The poll has a 3.1% margin of error.

Between the lines: Social media platforms keep announcing new steps to limit the misinformation that drives extremism. But experts say that reversing radicalization will require an all-out national effort — a "Marshall plan against domestic extremism."

Go deeper

Facebook says it will crack down on COVID vaccine misinformation

Photo illustration: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook says it will take tougher action during the pandemic against claims that vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccination, are not effective or safe.

Why it matters: It's a partial reversal from Facebook's previous position on vaccine misinformation. In September, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company wouldn't target anti-vaccination posts the same way it has aggressively cracked down on COVID misinformation.

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a powerful and potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring an array of hazards, from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten coastal property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional

Workers count ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.