Voters support platforms’ right to take down harmful content, oppose legislation that blocks content moderation
On Wednesday, Chamber of Progress released new polling showing that voters – including a supermajority of Democrats and Independents – support the right of tech companies to moderate content on their platforms and are concerned that tech antitrust legislation (S. 2992 and S. 2710) could prevent online platforms from taking down harmful content, including hate speech and violence.
“The tech antitrust bills have a content moderation problem, especially among Democratic voters and lawmakers,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich. “People want social media to take down harmful content, so legislation that opens platforms up to hate speech and violence is going to meet resistance.”
This is the first survey examining voter attitudes on the impact of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) and Open App Markets Act (S. 2710) on online content moderation. During markup, Democrats raised concerns that these bills would block companies from taking down harmful content by prohibiting discrimination between “similarly situated businesses.” Last month, a group of four Democratic senators wrote to bill sponsors urging them to fix the legislation’s content moderation problem.
Key polling results include:
- A bipartisan majority of voters (67%), think online platforms should have the ability to remove hate speech, violence, and other types of content from their platform, rather than being required to carry all forms of content (20%).
- 61 percent of Democrats – and 51 percent of all voters – feel that online platforms are not doing enough to remove harmful content from their platforms or apps.
- More than half of voters (57%) are more likely to oppose tech competition legislation if it also required online platforms to carry hate speech and content inciting violence; a majority (52%) are more likely to oppose if it prohibits YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram from removing bullying and suicide posts; and half (50%) are more likely to oppose if it requires app stores to host apps that promote harmful conspiracy theories.
- The impact most likely to cause Democrats to oppose the legislation would be if it required online platforms to carry hate speech and content inciting violence (24%), followed by if it prohibited the removal of bulling and suicide posts (15%) and required apps to host conspiracy theories (15%).
- Three-quarters of voters (76%) had heard “not too much” or “not at all” about the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and Open Apps Market Act.
Chamber of Progress (progresschamber.org) is a center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future. We work to ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps, and that the tech industry operates responsibly and fairly.
Our corporate partners do not have a vote on or veto over our positions. We do not speak for individual partner companies and remain true to our stated principles even when our partners disagree.