Politics

Nearly Half Of Americans Support Government Censoring Information Online

A new Pew Research Center poll reveals that nearly half of Americans support the U.S. government censoring the internet. 

A clear majority supports Big Tech companies censoring information if its deemed “false information.” 

Concerns over misinformation online during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially concerning vaccines, is likely the reason for the shift in public attitudes.

The poll results do not portend well for the future of the First Amendment.

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‘Even If It Means Losing Some Freedom To Access And Publish Content’

About half of Americans, 48 percent, believe the government should take steps to censor ‘false information.’ In 2018, only 39 percent supported government intervention into free speech on social media.

At the same time, “the share of adults who say freedom of information should be protected – even if it means some misinformation is published online – has decreased from 58% to 50%.”

These U.S. adults support such action even if it means losing some freedom to access and publish content.

This survey was conducted among 11,178 adults from July 26-August 8, 2021.

Pew Research Center reported, “When it comes to whether technology companies should take steps to address misinformation online, more are in agreement. A majority of adults (59%) continue to say technology companies should take steps to restrict misinformation online, even if it puts some restrictions on Americans’ ability to access and publish content.”

“Around four-in-ten (39%) take the opposite view that protecting freedom of information should take precedence, even if it means false claims can spread,” Pew noted. “The balance of opinion on this question has changed little since 2018.”

Partisan sentiment has also played a role in public attitudes.

Over 75% of Democrats support government censoring information, and only 61% of Republicans oppose. 

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Women Support Censorship More Than Men

“Today, 70% of Republicans say those freedoms should be protected, even it if means some false information is published,” Pew noted. “Nearly as many Democrats (65%) instead say the government should take steps to restrict false information, even if it means limiting freedom of information.”

Pew Research Center also noticed a gender difference in these views.

“Women still tend to be more open than men to the idea of both the government and tech companies taking action to restrict false information online, though both groups have become a bit more supportive of the government taking such steps,” Pew noted.

Pew’s write-up of their poll results doesn’t cover how such views run afoul of the First Amendment, which prohibits the federal government from abridging the free speech of Americans. 

The plain words read clearly:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 

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John Hanson

is a professional writer and editor with over 15 years of experience in conservative media and Republican politics. He has been a special guest on Fox News, Sirius XM, appeared as the guest of various popular personalities, and has had a lifelong interest in right-leaning politics.

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