Americans have trust issues, especially when it comes to information posted on social media.
A poll out Tuesday from Gallup and the Knight Foundation confirmed these views after surveying about 1,500 American adults late last year and another group in March: About 80 percent don’t trust big tech companies like Facebook and Google to regulate themselves, but — and here’s where things get complicated — most also don’t trust the government to take on this duty.
More than 80 percent of those polled favored the idea of an independent oversight board, like Facebook’s freshly formed group, which makes decisions about pulling, flagging, or marking content posted on the platform. Without this independent entity, 55 percent of those polled would rather yield content control to the companies themselves instead of to the government. A minority 44 percent preferred that the government guides content choices on those platforms. Of those identifying as Republican, only 35 percent trusted the government with content decisions on social pages.
The poll found that men, white people, and those with less education are more likely to view companies’ content oversight systems as “too tough” in what they label as fake news or misinformation, and in some cases, remove.
Then there’s the connected issue of the government trying to reform or remove existing laws that all online companies have to follow. In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has angrily opposed Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that internet companies aren’t liable for speech from third parties hosted on their sites. But this poll found that 66 percent supported keeping the law as is to protect internet companies like Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and beyond from what its users post on the platforms. Twitter flagging Trump’s tweet as inaccurate seems to have unleashed his reaction that the social platforms have too much control.
So, maybe there is something to that Facebook Oversight Board.