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Americans Split on More Regulation of Big Tech
Politics

Americans Split on More Regulation of Big Tech

Americans Split on More Regulation of Big Tech

Story Highlights

  • 48% of U.S. adults favor more government regulation of big technology firms
  • 40% say regulation of tech companies should not change; 10% prefer a decrease
  • Liberals more likely than conservatives to favor tighter controls

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As a group of state attorneys general prepare to investigate whether large technology companies have become monopolies, the U.S. consumers these officials aim to protect are divided on the need for such scrutiny.

Close to half of U.S. adults (48%) in an Aug. 1-14 Gallup poll say the government should increase its regulation of technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google. On the other hand, 40% believe government regulation of these firms shouldn't change and 10% think they should face less government regulation.

Americans' Views on Government Regulation of Technology Companies
Do you think the government should increase, decrease or not change its regulation of technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google?
Increase Decrease Not change No opinion
% % % %
U.S. adults 48 10 40 2
Gallup, Aug. 1-14, 2019

Large technology companies maintain that they do not engage in anti-competitive practices. Nevertheless, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal earlier this week, a number of state attorneys general -- believed to be a bipartisan group -- are preparing a joint antitrust investigation into possible anti-competitive practices by Big Tech. This is on top of similar inquiries already underway by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission.

More View Technology Firms Positively Than Negatively

The 50% of U.S. adults who favor no additional regulation of technology firms aligns with the 46% of Americans in the same poll who have a generally positive opinion of the sector. That's significantly more than the 33% viewing technology companies negatively. Meanwhile, 22% say they have a neutral view of these firms. (See the table at the end of this article for detailed demographic breaks on views of technology companies.)

Americans' Overall Views of Technology Companies
Please say whether your overall view of technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google is very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or very negative.
U.S. adults
%
Very positive 15
Somewhat positive 31
Neutral 22
Somewhat negative 23
Very negative 10
No opinion *
* = less than 0.5%
Gallup, Aug. 1-14, 2019

Union Members, Liberals, College Grads Back Regulation the Most

Public support for bringing more government regulation to bear on technology firms is higher among traditionally left-leaning demographics -- groups typically more likely to favor increased government regulation of private entities. Roughly six in 10 self-identified liberals, union members, college graduates and Democrats say that government should increase its regulation of firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook.

Additionally, young adults are slightly less likely than seniors to favor more regulation of Big Tech. But rather than want to see regulation of the technology sector weaken, young adults are more likely to say the regulatory environment should not change.

Americans' Views on Government Regulation of Technology Companies, by Subgroup
Increase Not change Decrease
% % %
U.S. adults 48 40 10
Men 48 39 11
Women 48 41 9
Non-Hispanic whites 50 38 10
Non-Hispanic blacks 45 45 10
Hispanics 44 48 8
18 to 29 44 44 12
30 to 49 47 40 11
50 to 64 49 43 6
65+ 52 34 12
College graduate 58 32 8
Not college graduate 43 44 11
Republicans 48 39 12
Independents 43 43 12
Democrats 56 38 5
Conservatives 44 42 12
Moderates 47 43 9
Liberals 59 33 8
Union member 60 32 8
Not union member 47 41 10
Gallup, Aug. 1-14, 2019

The gap between Republicans' and Democrats' views on regulating Big Tech is still relatively mild as far as partisan differences go. That could reflect the various cross-pressures created by a Republican presidential administration pushing for tighter regulation of an industry that's viewed more positively than negatively by Americans. But this bears watching as the investigations play out and consumers become more familiar with the issues at hand.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

View complete question responses and trends.

Americans' Overall Views of Technology Companies, by Subgroup
Positive Neutral Negative
% % %
U.S. adults 46 22 33
Men 43 23 34
Women 48 20 31
Non-Hispanic whites 40 21 38
Non-Hispanic blacks 51 23 26
Hispanics 64 19 17
18 to 29 49 16 34
30 to 49 50 23 27
50 to 64 48 21 32
65+ 33 27 39
College graduate 39 22 39
Not college graduate 49 22 29
Republicans 43 19 37
Independents 43 23 33
Democrats 49 21 29
Conservatives 43 20 37
Moderates 50 25 26
Liberals 43 20 37
Union member 49 24 27
Not union member 45 22 33
Gallup, Aug. 1-14, 2019

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Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/265799/americans-split-regulation-big-tech.aspx
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