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Slim Majority Of Voters Approve Of Social Media Outlets Locking Trump’s Accounts

Huffington Post - Thu Jan 14 01:26

Slightly more than half of voters approve of social media outlets’ decisions to lock President Donald Trump’s accounts, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

The poll was conducted last Thursday through this Monday, a period spanning Trump’s initial, temporary suspension from Twitter and his eventual permanent ban from the site. In a blog post about the permanent suspension, Twitter said it did so “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Other outlets, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitch, have also indefinitely barred the outgoing president.

A slim majority of voters, 54%, say they approve of social media companies deciding to bar Trump for posting for at least some time. Another 39% disapprove. Results are, unsurprisingly, politically polarized: 87% of Joe Biden voters approve, compared to just 16% of the voters who supported Trump in last year’s election.

Few voters, regardless of party, think Trump’s presence on Twitter ― the network he used most prolifically ― did him any favors. Just 19% of voters, including 15% of Biden voters and 26% of Trump voters, say they think Trump’s tweets generally helped his cause. Half the electorate says Trump’s tweets generally hurt his cause. The rest either felt Trump’s tweets neither helped nor hurt him, or said they were unsure.

Most Americans aren’t on Twitter. The outsized power of Trump’s Twitter presence came not only from his following on the site, but also from the way his missives were frequently cited in news coverage. Just 10% of voters say that they usually learned about something that Trump posted by seeing his tweets directly on Twitter, while 70% said they were more likely to see or hear news stories discussing his tweets. Both Trump and Biden voters were far more likely to learn about Trump’s tweets indirectly than directly.

The survey also finds a broad public consensus that social media outlets have some duty to regulate the content that appears on their sites. A 71% majority of voters say outlets like Facebook and Twitter have a responsibility to prevent users from harassing others on their site, with 69% saying they have a responsibility to prevent users from posting hate speech or racist content, and 61% that they have a responsibility to prevent users from spreading conspiracy theories or false information. 

Opinions on this have changed little since a previous survey last October. As was the case then, there are significant divides, both political and demographic. Biden voters, for instance, are 50 points likelier than Trump voters to say social media outlets have a responsibility to prevent the posting of conspiracy theories. Female voters are 11 points likelier than male voters to say the sites have a responsibility to prevent harassment. 

Asked about the way social media outlets regulate the content posted to their sites, 43% say the effort is not strict enough, with 25% calling it too strict, 16% saying it’s about right and the rest unsure. In terms of bias, 38% think such outlets generally tilt in favor of liberal views, with just 10% believing they’re generally prejudiced toward conservative views. Another 25% think they’re not biased either way, with the rest unsure. These opinions, also, have held largely stable since the fall.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 7-11 among U.S. registered voters, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate.

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