Tech Poll – February 2023

Executive Summary

In the latest installment of our ongoing poll (administered by YouGov), we continue to unpack how Americans view their relationship with today’s major tech platforms.

This survey not only captures how Americans view tech, but also answers important questions ranging from how these companies should be regulated to how views about technology differ based on gender, political ideology, and education.

Along with our ongoing questions about which tech companies Americans trust and which they think should be broken up, we also asked questions about: 

  • Do Americans trust popular social media platforms as safe places for children?
  • How do Americans feel about age verification methods?
  • What are the top concerns about teens and safety on social media?
  • Do Americans trust online advertising?

Distrust of tech companies

  • For the first time in our polling, trust in tech companies rose significantly 
  • Tiktok and Facebook continue to be the most distrusted companies
  • Men, conservatives, and more educated Americans show greater distrust

Respondents were asked how much they trust various tech companies to collect and use their data. The most distrusted tech companies are TikTok (59%), Facebook (52%), and Twitter (50%).

Partisan distrust of government

There remains a stark divide between Republican and Democrat distrust of the federal government, a split that began after the 2020 presidential election. However, levels of distrust among Republicans and Democrats has decreased since our last poll in July 2022.

Rising trust in federal and state governments to collect and use personal data

Trust in the government to collect and use personal data has increased. The federal government and state governments are seeing levels of trust last measured in July 2020. The federal government is the only sector to surpass its peak trust, rising 8 points since its lowest point in November 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Content and user moderation

Americans increasingly and overwhelmingly agree that social media companies are justified in content moderation:

  • 76% agree that social media companies are justified in removing users that violate their rules
  • 70% agree that social media companies are justified in removing content that they think poses a risk to public health and safety
  • 70% agree that social media companies are justified in removing elected officials that violate their rules
  • 65% support platforms removing disruptive users and 58% support removing disruptive elected officials

Social media companies should not remove elected officials that break their rules

Men are more likely to disagree that trolling elected officials should be removed (42% of men versus 30% of women). A similar trend exists when the user is not an elected official with 37% of men and 23% of women thinking removing trolls is unjustified.

Social media companies are justified in removing trolls

Overall, 65% of respondents agree that social media companies can ban disruptive users unless that user is an elected official, in which case 58% agree with a removal.

Free speech, traditional news, and social media

Americans hold some contradicting views regarding free speech, news, and social media.

80% agree that free speech is necessary for promoting equality and social change, down from 86% in our most recent poll. Numbers have shifted on other data points as well:

  • 73% agree that news companies and media outlets should be fined for reporting biased or inaccurate information
  • 61% agree that social media companies should be held responsible for offensive content posted by users

Being political online

59% of Americans agree that social media platforms have become the primary channel by which important public policy conversions are taking place, down from 61% in our most recent poll. Other numbers for this topic are mixed: 

  • 69% say they avoid political conversations online
  • 48% don’t feel comfortable sharing political views on social media, down from 53% in our most recent poll
  • 26% say that they primarily use social media to share political beliefs with others, slightly more (2 points) than last poll

Children and social media

For the first time in the history of our poll, we asked respondents for their opinions on the relationship between children and social media. With several bills circulating across the country looking to ban social media for those under a certain age, these opinions can inform policymakers.

Age verification

Overall, 60% of Americans would not feel comfortable sharing a government identification document, like a driver's license, with social media companies to verify their age. That number jumps to 68% of people who would not share their child’s identification to allow them on social media.

Below, we break down the willingness to verify age in order to access social media by political party. Republicans are less likely to share an ID to get online with a notable 73% of Republicans not comfortable with sharing their child’s ID.

Social media and children

Respondents identifying as conservative were more likely to say that social media does more harm than good. In total, 71% of conservatives think social media is more harmful than helpful, which decreased to 55% for moderates and 54% for liberals.


TikTok, which is the most distrusted platform with data, continues to lead as the most distrusted platform for children to use. Facebook and Twitter tie for second, with Snapchat in third place.

As respondents get older they are much more likely to think social media companies have an obligation to ensure that the health and safety of children is not negatively impacted by the use of their platforms. Of those from 18-29, 58% agree that social media companies should ensure children are not negatively impacted. That number jumps to 86% for those 65 and older.

Survey methodology

Results for this CGO/YouGov Tech Poll poll are based on web-based panel participants January 5 - 10, 2023. The data is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population. Some numbers provided above have been rounded for clarity. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3.43 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.