While many issues divide U.S. conservatives and liberals, here’s one where there isn’t as much difference as you might presume: the power of the biggest tech companies.
Republicans are only slightly more wary than Democrats and Independents, according to a new study fielded for Variety Intelligence Platform by GetWizer Consumer Insights among almost 1,500 Americans.
The concern that Big Tech has too much power is a theme that resounds strongly across the political spectrum, but Republicans are more likely to think so than Democrats. With that said, two-thirds of Democrats say consumers are weak in the face of the might of Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.
When asked which individual companies have the most power, Facebook is the main concern for everyone. Overall, 4 of 5 Americans think CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s company has too much influence, with Democrats (74%) trailing the perception that Republicans (85%) and Independents (84%) have.
Interestingly, Democrats and Republicans are a lot closer on perceptions on Google (5 percentage points difference), Amazon (3 percentage points) and Apple (1 percentage point). This could point toward Facebook’s role in misinformation scandals, but given this is what has helped power QAnon and COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies on the right, it’s a point of interest that the vast majority of Republicans consider Facebook to be the Big Tech outfit with too much power.
There’s little difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the question of increased government oversight of Big Tech. Close to three-quarters of both agree the four firms should be monitored more closely, with Independents trailing slightly.
That similarity doesn’t lend itself to the breakup of Big Tech, as seems to be frequently rumored. While a slight majority of Democrats (52%) think it’s in the interest of the economy for Facebook to be separated from Instagram or YouTube from Google, this rises to 60% for Republicans.
Of note is the opposition that Independents have for potential breakups. The majority of Independents (53%) think it is in the interest of the economy to keep the Big Tech companies together, which is significantly different from Republicans. Considering Independents were also less likely to agree that Big Tech has too much power over consumers, this suggests they are less susceptible to messaging from cable news outlets and talk-show hosts and are remaining somewhat independent in their thinking.