CGO Tech Poll

Executive Summary

How did the 2020 Presidential election change the way Americans view big tech?

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 captures not only how the recent presidential election changed how we view tech, but also answers important questions ranging from antitrust to whether social media companies should remove groups from their platforms to generational divides over free speech online.

Top-Line Results

  • Over 67% of Americans think that tech companies are too big. Yet, less than half of those polled (48.7%) think the government should break them up.
  • Two-thirds of participants think social media companies should ban hate groups from using their websites.
  • Questions around the government’s role in regulating social media companies highlights the growing generational divides around tech, with Baby Boomers (63%) overwhelmingly more willing to agree the government should regulate social media companies than Generation Z (40%).
  • Regardless of age, Americans overwhelmingly agree (85%) that free speech is necessary to promote equality and social change, but also agree that both news organizations (69%) and social media companies (64%) should be held accountable for inaccurate information.

Data

Below are the questions asked in this version of the poll:

On a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is completely distrust and 5 is completely trust, please indicate how much you trust each organization or entity below to collect and use your personal information/data.

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Slack
  • TikTok
  • Zoom
  • Twitter
  • The U.S. federal government
  • Your state government
  • Your local government

Below is a list of tech companies. Please indicate whether or not you think your life would be better or worse off if the company were broken up into smaller companies.

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Twitter

For each statement below, please indicate how much you agree or disagree with each statement.

  • Most news coverage is good for American society
  • Free speech is necessary for promoting equality and social change
  • News companies and media outlets should be fined for reporting biased or inaccurate information
  • Social media companies should ban hate groups from using their websites
  • Social media companies should be held responsible for offensive content posted on their platforms by users
  • Social media companies should be held responsible for false or inaccurate content posted on their platforms
  • I have used more than one search engine this year
  • Google is the most reliable search engine
  • If I cannot find what I am looking for on Google, I try another search engine
  • I know how to change the default apps (such as my email and internet browser) on my phone
  • Changing the default apps (such as my email and internet browser) on my phone is easy
  • Tech companies are too big
  • The government should break up big tech companies into smaller companies
  • Government should be more involved in regulating social media companies

Charts

Each iteration we produce charts and graphs to visualize the data and trends. Here are the latest:

Methodology

The survey, conducted by YouGov with their web-based panel participants, was fielded from November 19 to 24, 2020. The data is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population. Some numbers provided above have been rounded for clarity.

Contact

If you’d like to contact us about the poll, or any of our other research, please reach out to [email protected]. Or if this is a media inquiry, please feel free top reach out to [email protected].

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.