Who’s to blame for misinformation? Americans weigh in.


Nearly everyone in America agrees that misinformation spreading is a serious problem.

Most Americans believe that social media companies and their users are to blame. According to a poll by The Pearson Institute, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and The Pearson Institute, few people are concerned about their own responsibility.

Ninety-five per cent of Americans see misinformation as an issue when trying to find important information. Half of Americans blame the U.S. government. About three quarters blame social media companies and users. Yet only 2 in 10 Americans say they’re very concerned that they have personally spread misinformation.

More – about 6 in 10 – are at least somewhat concerned that their friends or family members have been part of the problem.

Carmen Speller is a Lexington graduate student. She can see the differences when discussing the coronavirus epidemic with her close relatives. Ms. Speller trusts COVID-19 vaccines; her family does not. She believes the misinformation her family has seen on TV or read on questionable news sites has swayed them in their decision to stay unvaccinated against COVID-19.

In fact, some of her family members think she’s crazy for trusting the government for information about COVID-19.

” They do believe that I am misinformed. “I’m blindly following the government’s advice, and that’s what I hear most often,” Ms. Speller stated. It’s causing tension between my family and my friends .”

Ms. Speller may not be the only person having these disagreements.

Raspberry’s survey revealed that 61% more Republicans believe the U.S. government is responsible for misinformation spreading than 38% Democrats. There is more agreement between the parties about the roles that social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube play in spreading misinformation.

According to the poll 79% Republicans and 73% Democrats both believe that social media companies are responsible for spreading misinformation a lot or a lot. This rare partisan agreement between Americans could mean trouble for tech giants such as Facebook. Facebook is the most popular and profitable social media platform and it has been under attack from both Republican and Democrat legislators.

” According to Konstantin Sonin (a University of Chicago professor of public policy who is associated with the Pearson Institute), the AP-NORC survey is bad news. “It makes clear that assaulting Facebook is popular by a large margin – even when Congress is split 50-50, and each side has its own reasons.”

During a congressional hearing Tuesday, senators vowed to hit Facebook with new regulations after a whistleblower testified that the company’s own research shows its algorithms amplify misinformation and content that harms children.

“It profited from spreading misinformation, disinformation, and sowing hatred,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) stated during a meeting the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. Democrats and Republicans concluded the hearing by acknowledging that regulation must be made to alter the ways Facebook targets its users and amplifies their content.

The poll revealed that Americans would rather blame everyone but themselves for misinformation spreading. 53% Of those polled said they are not worried about misinformation being spread. We see it a lot where people worry about misinformation, but think that it happens because other people do it. Lisa Fazio is a Vanderbilt University psychologist who studies the spread of false information. “Most people don’t recognize their own role in it.”

Younger adults tend to be more concerned that they’ve shared falsehoods, with 25% of those ages 18 to 29 very or extremely worried that they have spread misinformation, compared to just 14% of adults ages 60 and older. Sixty three percent of seniors aren’t concerned, which is roughly half the number of Americans.

But older people should be concerned about misinformation spreading, as research has shown that they are more inclined to share articles from fake news websites.

Before she shares things with family or her friends on Facebook, Ms. Speller tries her best to make sure the information she’s passing on about important topics like COVID-19 has been peer-reviewed or comes from a credible medical institution. Ms. Speller admits that there have been times when she didn’t understand the details and “liked” or shared a post.

” I’m certain it happened,” Ms. Speller stated. It’s a common practice for me to avoid sharing things I haven’t found on trusted sites on social media. I’m open to that if someone were to point out, ‘Hey this isn’t right,’ I would think, OK, let me check this.”

This story was reported by The Associated Press. The AP-NORC poll of 1,071 adults was conducted Sept. 9-13 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. All respondents were within a margin of error of plus/minus 3.9 percent.