TAMPA, Fla. - Millions of us use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media to stay in touch with friends or for business, but a new study shows a majority of us believe social media is having a negative effect on America’s political climate.
That’s one of the findings of the survey conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida. Among other findings, the survey shows people want to see more regulation on social media.
"In terms of how they regulate particular types of communication and messaging that could lead to violence, that could lead to misinformation and disinformation," says Joshua Scacco, assistant professor of political communications at USF.
Scacco, who led the survey of 1,000 adults nationwide, says the results provide conflicting answers.
On one hand, 75% said social media companies should do more to monitor accuracy.
But, at the same time, a majority of people surveyed say they don’t trust the social media companies to be fair arbiters.
"So that’s the next step in the analysis, seeing that if they don’t trust the social media companies, would they trust the federal government to do it?" wondered Scacco.
Broadcasters, like FOX 13, are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission regarding what we put on-air, but social media platforms don’t use public airwaves, so they’re not under the FCC's purview.
Another conflict presented in the findings; when asked if social media users should be allowed to make false statements or spread misinformation, 56% said ‘no.’
However, a majority said social media users should be allowed to say things other people might find offensive.
The question is, who gets to decide the difference?
The survey shows a lot of agreement in one area: 78% said regulation is necessary to prevent organized violent acts.
Read more findings from the study at https://www.usf.edu/news/2021/survey-results-social-media-moderation-regulation.aspx.