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Pew report shows Americans do not trust Facebook, Google, Twitter for election truths

It’s lies. It’s all lies. Some of them are just prettier than others, that’s all.

Mark zuckerberg standing in front of privacy text
Image: KnowTechie

According to a new study from Pew Research Center nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans across all political spectrums have little or no confidence that big tech (Facebook, Twitter, Google) will or can prevent general fuckery when it comes to influencing the 2020 presidential election.

This might seem like scary bad news, but if you look at it under the right lens, it’s great news for the upcoming election.

Last time around, the misinformation and lies spread across Facebook, Twitter and Google confused the populace (because people are idiots and shouldn’t rely on Facebook for news for starters) with a constant stream of memes and lies that obfuscated whatever truths were out there. For some reason, people trust what they read on social media.

That’s a mistake and perhaps these numbers from Pew show that users are waking up to that mistake. Before the 2018 midterms, the low confidence level was around two-thirds (66%) of Americans, feeling that tech companies would not be reliable to prevent election influence. With that number swelling to 74% (43% not too confident, 31% not at all confident) it shows that maybe people are starting to see the actual truth.

That truth is: Facebook and Google and Twitter are tech companies trying to make a buck, not the stewards of truth. They don’t have to be and shouldn’t be looked at as such. It’s hard enough to find the truth these days with a President and administration that lies constantly, with 24-hour news peppered with opinionists and blathering fools and your racist uncle printing out memes.

You might be thinking, oh, but surely that number can’t possibly represent all the right-wing assholes spreading lies. Well, according to Pew it does.

Nearly identical shares of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (76%) and Democrats and Democratic leaners (74%) have little or no confidence in technology companies to prevent misuse of their platforms in the upcoming election.

What this alludes to is a more acute awareness of what is happening on these platforms.

This doesn’t mean that we all aren’t sharing lies and mistruths, what it means is that we are more skeptical, more aware of what those things are. No longer are people reading a meme and just taking it for granted that it’s true because it’s in big bold letters. The default is that its bullshit and just entertainment.

There’s still a rift between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to thinking the platforms favor one particular viewpoint over another, but a lot of that has to do with how that viewpoint is delivered. When your viewpoint aligns more with racism, antisemitism, misogyny or otherwise, then yeah it’s gonna be tempered.

The less confidence we have in Twitter, Google and Facebook especially to protect election interference and truth is for the better. We shouldn’t expect these platforms to be able to control the flow of lies and be reliable sources of information. Google News maybe, just because it links to actual sources of true news.

But Facebook and Twitter should not be and are not reliable sources of believable truth. They are tools of communication, not tools of truth. Sure, there are truths in there, along with the lies, but we should be skeptical and take everything we read with a grain of salt and a light slap.

With more people finally waking up and holding fast to their skepticism of these platforms, we’ll finally be able to treat them like the ridiculous sources of entertainment they are, rather than a source of truth.

Do you have any trust in these big tech companies? Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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