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Infographic – Most in U.S. Favor False Online Info Limits

Bar chart: Americans favoring limits on false online content

Click on image for full-size view (Pew Research Center)

22 July 2023. A recent survey shows majorities of American adults would like technology companies or the government to restrict the spread of false information online. Findings from the poll conducted in June 2023 were released this week by the Pew Research Center, the day before a White House meeting with tech industry executives on building safeguards into artificial intelligence systems.

The Pew Research survey asked its sample about actions needed to curb harmful online material, both false information and extremely violent content. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) favor tech companies limiting false content online, with somewhat fewer, but still a majority (55%) wanting the government to step in and restrict false online content. Since Pew began asking this question, the share of Americans wanting the industry or government to restrict false online content has grown each time from 56 percent for tech companies and 39 percent for government action in 2018 to majorities of Americans today. Even larger percentages of Americans want limits on extremely violent content imposed by tech companies (71%) or government (60%).

As with many policy questions today, Republicans and Democrats differ on the government’s role in limiting false information online. About four in 10 Republicans (39%) would like to see the government curb false online content, while about six in 10 (59%) are opposed. Among Democrats, however, seven in 10 (70%) want government to restrict false information online, with roughly three in 10 (28%) are opposed. Moreover, the share of Democrats favoring government limits on false online content has grown from 40 percent in 2018, while the proportion of Republicans has barely changed from 37% that year.

Pew Research Center conducted the survey online with 5,115 U.S. adults taking part in the Center’s American Trends Panel from 5 to 11 June 2023. Participants are recruited through national random sampling of U.S. households, with results weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population.

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