Americans appreciate the benefits of the tech industry, but express concerns about social media

Two Ipsos surveys investigate impressions of the tech sector, possible solutions to the problems the industry faces, and how partisanship impacts both.

The author(s)

  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, February 14, 2022 – A majority of Americans feel that the tech industry has had a good impact on their lives, with majorities of Republicans (68%) and Democrats (81%) in agreement, according to Ipsos polling. However, opinion is more divided around the benefit of social media companies. Fewer (45%) say that they have had a positive impact on their lives.

At the same time, few Americans feel regulating the technology sector and social media should be a top priority for the federal government. The top two issues the public would prefer the federal government regulate include reducing healthcare and prescription drug costs, and rebuilding and investing in U.S. infrastructure.

Still, most Americans would prefer to keep the technology sector as it is now with all the good or bad it entails versus have a dramatically smaller tech sector, with less of the good and less of the bad. This is true across partisan lines.

An earlier Ipsos survey, conducted in September, echoes these central findings. While just over half (53%) say they have a favorable impression of tech companies as a group, fewer (32%) say they have a positive impression of social media companies. Democrats are generally more favorable towards both tech and social media companies than Republicans.

Despite these reservations, the public does not believe that it should fall to the government to regulate social media. When given the choice between government or social media setting the rules that define problematic content on social media, 70% opt for individual social media companies, including 72% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats.

However, there is broad support for breaking up large monopolistic tech companies (64% support) and preventing large companies from establishing monopolies in the first place (72%).

 

For full results, please see the attached annotated questionnaire.

About the Study

These Ipsos polls were conducted September 15th to September 22nd, 2021, and October 8th to October 11th, 20201 by Ipsos using our KnowledgePanel®. The September poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,022 general population adults age 18 or older. The sample includes 290 Republicans, 318 Democrats, and 319 Independents. The October poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,016 general population adults age 18 or older. The sample includes 302 Republicans, 300 Democrats, and 312 Independents.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households are randomly sampled from all available households in the U.S. All persons in selected households are invited to join and participate in KnowledgePanel. Ipsos provides selected households that do not already have internet access a tablet and internet connection at no cost to them. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methods, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The study was conducted in English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status and household income. The demographic benchmarks came from 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) from the US Census Bureau. The weighting categories were as follows:

 

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (High School graduate or less, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 6.2 percentage points for Republicans, 6.0 percentage points for Democrats, and 6.0 percentage points for Independents at the 95% confidence level. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.18 for all adults, 1.14 for Republicans, 1.17 for Democrats, and 1.19 for Independents. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

 

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

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The author(s)

  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Sarah Feldman Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs

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