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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.

31 mins ago - World

India sets new COVID world record as oxygen demand jumps seven-fold

COVID-19 patients being treated with free oxygen at a makeshift clinic in Indirapuram, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: Rebecca Conway/Getty Images

India has seen demand for oxygen jump "seven-fold" as the country set a new world record for daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, per AP.

By the numbers: India's health ministry reported 412,262 new infections, taking the official tally past 21 million, and 3,980 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The official death toll now stands at 230,168. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

3 hours ago - World

U.K. sends patrol ships to British island amid fishing dispute with France

The HMS Tamar, one of the two ships deployed to Jersey. Photo: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it has deployed two Royal Navy patrol vessels to the island of Jersey "as a precautionary measure," as tensions over fishing rights escalate with France.

Why it matters: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement the government took the action to protect Jersey against threats of "a blockade" of French fishing boats at the island, which is off the coast of northwest France.