About two-thirds of Americans (64%) say social media have a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the country today, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted July 13-19, 2020. Just one-in-ten Americans say social media sites have a mostly positive effect on the way things are going, and one-quarter say these platforms have a neither positive nor negative effect.
Those who have a negative view of the impact of social media mention, in particular, misinformation and the hate and harassment they see on social media. They also have concerns about users believing everything they see or read – or not being sure about what to believe. Additionally, they bemoan social media’s role in fomenting partisanship and polarization, the creation of echo chambers, and the perception that these platforms oppose President Donald Trump and conservatives.
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23% of users in U.S. say social media led them to change views on an issue; some cite Black Lives Matter
Roughly a quarter (23%) of adult social media users in the United States – and 17% of adults overall – say they have changed their views about a political or social issue because of something they saw on social media in the past year, according to a July Pew Research Center survey.
The share of social media users who say they have changed their views on an issue has increased since the Center last asked this question in 2018 – 23% now, compared with 15% then (among the overall population, the share is 17% now and was 14% then). And when asked to elaborate on the things they have changed their views about, these adults often mention the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality. They also mention changes in their views about political parties, ideologies and political figures.