More Americans believe the government, tech firms should take steps to restrict false information online


Nearly half of US adults (48 percent) believe the government should take steps to restrict the spread of false information online, even if it limits freedom of information. That’s up from just 39 percent in 2018, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

On the flip side, 59 percent of survey takers believe tech companies should be the ones to take steps to restrict the spread of misinformation online. That’s an increase of three percent over the 56 percent that felt the same way three years ago.

When asked if the US government should protect freedom of information, even if it means false information can be published, 50 percent of those polled this year agreed with that idea. That’s down from 58 percent when presented in 2018. Conversely, 39 percent in 2021 believe the onus falls on tech companies, down from 42 percent a few years ago.

Pew further notes that partisan divisions have widened regarding the role of government and tech companies as it relates to restricting the sharing of misinformation online.

In short, democrats are more in favor of restrictions as it relates to the spread of false information online while republicans are more interested in protecting freedom of information.

Pew used data collected from 11,178 panelists between July 26 and August 8, 2021, for its survey, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4 percent.