Respondents in 19 countries consider social platforms as ‘both a constructive and destructive component of political life,’ according to the Pew Research Center.
Social media is viewed by a majority of a sample of global citizens as harmful for causing political polarization and spreading misinformation but beneficial for democracy overall – except in the United States, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
Pew asked citizens in 19 advanced economies about their views on social media, technology and their influence on society. The results show that respondents see social media as “both a constructive and destructive component of political life,” but a median 57% said it has a positive impact on democracy. Those surveyed in Malaysia, Poland and Singapore had the highest percentages viewing it as good for democracy.
The U.S. was found to be an outlier in several categories, but especially when it comes to social media’s democratic impact. Among American respondents, Pew found that Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP were more likely than those who favor the Democratic Party to see the ill effects of social media on politics.
Well over two-thirds of those surveyed in the U.S. also said the internet and social media have made people “more divided in their political opinions” and “less civil in the way they talk about politics.” American percentages were higher than the median for both of those descriptors.