The following is an excerpt from KATY STEINMETZ | June 28, 2018 | Time.com |
A new poll from Pew Research Center helps quantify the ambivalent feelings Americans are having about the tech sector in the wake of controversies over user privacy and allegations of political bias against conservatives.
As part of a larger polling package on American attitudes toward tech, set to be released later this year, Pew asked 4,594 U.S. adults questions related to the neutrality and influence of tech platforms. Findings released Thursday show that more than 40% of Americans believe that technology companies support the views of liberals over conservatives (compared to just 11% who think the opposite), while 72% say it’s likely that that social media platforms actively censor political viewpoints that the companies “find objectionable.” Nearly two-thirds also said that tech companies “often fail to anticipate how their products and services will impact society.”
Lead researcher Aaron Smith says there was a dearth of data about public attitudes to inform debates over the role that technology companies are playing in our lives, as Americans have reacted to events like Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and Google’s firing of engineer James Damore (who was let go after criticizing the company’s diversity policy). “There are a lot of questions about the biases that might be getting baked into the products and services that these very powerful corporations are putting out,” Smith says, in addition to worries about data security.
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