In a new national poll released today by Issue One and the Council for Responsible Social Media (CRSM), an overwhelming majority of Americans across the political spectrum hold social media accountable for a range of negative effects and strongly support federal legislation that increases transparency, ensures privacy, and protects children.
Conducted by Citizen Data, which polled more than 1,000 Americans, 8 in 10 Americans hold social media responsible for bullying, childhood mental health struggles, and the spreading of false information and conspiracy theories. Americans across party lines also support legislation to regulate social media and set higher standards for the platforms.
“There’s no question that Americans are deeply concerned over the harms that social media is having on our kids and our democracy, and they want to see Congress act,” said CRSM Co-chair former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO). “It’s time for Republicans and Democrats in both chambers to prioritize and pass common-sense reforms that will create a healthier digital environment. We can no longer allow these platforms to operate with no accountability or oversight.”
The poll found broad crosspartisan agreement that social media is headed in the wrong direction, with 7 in 10 believing that social media is having a negative effect on children. Just seven in one hundred see social media’s impact on children as more positive than negative.
Legislation holding the social media platforms accountable also enjoyed strong mainstream support, with 8 in 10 saying more needs to be done to increase transparency, ensure privacy, and protect children, including 84 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats. A majority of respondents said they would be more likely to support reelection efforts for their elected officials if they supported such legislation.
The new poll comes amid renewed bipartisan concerns in Congress over national security risks associated with TikTok, as well as a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing which signaled strong bipartisan support for legislative action to protect kids online. That hearing featured witness testimony from three members of the CRSM: Kristin Bride, a mother who lost her son to cyberbullying; Emma Lembke, a Gen Z social media advocate and founder of LOG OFF, a youth movement that seeks to tackle the challenges of social media and its impact on younger generations; and Josh Golin, executive director of Fairplay, an organization committed to helping children thrive in an increasingly digital world.
“Whether you identify as a Republican, Democrat, or independent, Americans can agree on one thing: social media is dividing people across the country and fostering a dangerous climate that threatens our youth and national security,” said Alix Fraser, director of the Council for Responsible Social Media. “These findings are sobering, but they should not come as a surprise to anyone who uses social media. The opportunity is ripe for bipartisan reforms that a vast majority of Americans support.”
Additional key findings include:
- Over two-thirds (68%) of Americans would support legislation requiring social media platforms to make their products and algorithms available for independent review.
- Two-thirds (66%) of Americans would be more likely to support their elected officials in a reelection if they supported a law placing greater requirements on how technology companies allow children to use their online platforms.
- Almost six out of ten (58%) Americans would be more likely to support their elected officials in a re-election if they supported laws to increase requirements on the way that social media platforms collect and use data.
Issue One’s Council for Responsible Social Media is a bipartisan group of more than 50 leaders from different sectors who have come together to create a healthier social media environment and find solutions to the technological harms to our kids, communities, and national security.