Finally, something that both sides of the aisle can agree on: social media companies are too powerful.

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 78% of American adults say social media companies have too much influence on politics — to break it down by party, that’s 84% of surveyed Republicans and 74% of Democrats. Overall, this viewpoint has become 6% more popular since the last presidential election year.

Americans’ feelings about social media reflect that of their legislators. Some of the only political pursuits that have recently garnered significant bipartisan support have been efforts to hold social media platforms accountable. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have been working across the aisle on their Kids Online Safety Act, a bill that would put a duty of care on social media platforms to keep children safe. However, some privacy advocates have criticized the bill’s potential to make adults more vulnerable to government surveillance.

Meanwhile, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have also forged an unlikely partnership to propose a bill that would create a commission to oversee big tech platforms.

“The only thing worse than me doing a bill with Elizabeth Warren is her doing a bill with me,” Graham said at a Senate hearing in January.

It’s obvious why Americans think tech companies have too much political power — since the 2020 survey, social platforms were used to coordinate an attack on the Capitol, and then as a result, a sitting president got banned from those platforms for egging on those attacks. Meanwhile, the government is so concerned about the influence of Chinese-owned TikTok that President Biden just signed a bill that could ban the app for good.

But the views of conservative and liberal Americans diverge on the topic of tech companies’ bias. While 71% of Republicans surveyed said that big tech favors liberal perspectives over conservative ones, 50% of Democrats said that tech companies support each set of views equally. Only 15% of adults overall said that tech companies support conservatives over liberals.

These survey results make sense given the rise of explicitly conservative social platforms, like Rumble, Parler and Trump’s own Truth Social app.

During Biden’s presidency, government agencies like the FTC and DOJ have taken a sharper aim at tech companies. Some of the country’s biggest companies like Amazon, Apple and Meta have faced major lawsuits alleging monopolistic behaviors. But according to Pew’s survey, only 16% of U.S. adults think that tech companies should be regulated less than they are now. This percentage has grown since 2021, when Pew found that value to be 9%.

Liberals and conservatives may not agree on everything when it comes to tech policy, but the predominant perspective from this survey is clear: Americans are tired of the outsized influence of big tech.

By Amanda Silberling

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