More than three out of four Americans think Facebook is making society worse – powered in part by concerns of conspiracy theories being spread on the platform, a new poll found.
The CNN poll released Wednesday found that 76 percent of US adults believe Facebook makes society worse, compared to 11 percent who said the social media giant has a positive impact on “society as a whole.” Thirteen percent of respondents said it had no effect either way.
More than a third of those polled – 36 percent – said they use Facebook several times a day. But of the three-quarters of adults who believe the platform is worsening society, 55 percent of respondents blamed other users for its negative impact, compared to 45 percent who faulted Facebook for how operates.
Some 53 percent of Americans polled between Nov. 1 and 4 called for Facebook to face increased regulation by the federal government, while 35 percent said they believed no change was needed. Just 11 percent said Facebook should face less scrutiny from government regulators.
About half of respondents – 49 percent – reported they knew someone believed to have been persuaded to believe in a conspiracy theory due to content on Facebook. The figure jumped to 61 percent among adults ages 18 to 34, according to the poll.
Overall, 34 percent of adults polled said Facebook makes society worse due to way it operates. That figure jumps to 44 percent among Republicans, compared to 27 percent of Democrats, the poll found.
Some 54 percent of people who use Facebook at least several times a month said the platform has suggested posts they found objectionable. Respondents also expressed little faith in big tech companies like Google and Amazon – with just 38 percent saying they trusted them and Facebook to do what’s best for their users. That figure is up from 29 percent in March 2019, CNN reported.
The findings come as Facebook is trying to navigate a series of scandals after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked company research showing Instagram’s negative effect on teens’ mental health, Facebook’s widespread sharing of false election news, and its troubles to stop human trafficking on the site.
Facebook announced late last month it was changing its corporate name to Meta amid the scandals while sharing its long-term plan to build a “metaverse” where users can socialize, work, play and even create art.
The platform also announced last week it was shutting down its facial recognition system amid concerns about the technology to automatically identify users in photos and videos. More than one-third of users had opted into the system, which will delete the “facial recognition templates” of more than 1 billion people by December, a Facebook spokesperson said.
A message seeking comment from Facebook in response to the poll was not immediately returned early Wednesday.