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Most Americans want to regulate big tech

Views of big tech are increasingly political, survey finds

Americans strongly support regulating big technology firms, according to a survey released this week. The poll, commissioned by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Public Citizen, found that most people feel big tech has too much power. 

The organizations commissioned polling company Change Research to survey registered voters. Overall, all groups were concerned that big tech companies have too much power, although political affiliations still matter. Two-thirds of Democrats felt tech companies have too much influence, whereas 96% of Republicans felt the same way. 

Overall, 73% of people believe the government should break up big tech companies to reduce their power and ensure a fair and competitive market. This view was most prevalent among those aged 18 to 34 and Republicans. 

Support for other regulatory measures was stronger, as almost all respondents supported rules stopping internet companies abusing peoples' data and using deceptive practices. 

People strongly support the right to sue a company if their privacy is breached, while 90% want more protections to keep companies from discriminating against them based on personal characteristics. 

Other regulatory measures that garnered strong support included requiring big tech companies to open their data systems and provide fairer support for small businesses. There was also support for regulating new technologies, including AI, early on. 

Politics plays a big part in peoples' perceptions of technology companies, showing just how divisive the debate over censorship has become. 

Overall, Americans were evenly split on their views of big tech, with half of them feeling they were mostly good for the country and half feeling they were bad, threatening peoples' privacy and freedom of speech. However, people were unevenly divided along political lines. Only one in four Democrats felt technology companies were bad for America, while 77% of Republicans took a dim view of big tech. 

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People were also unevenly divided on which companies they found distasteful. They disliked Microsoft the least, with 43% of people viewing the company disfavorably. The most negative views were reserved for Facebook, as 63% of people disliked it. This put it up there with big banks and the media, which 64% and 60% of people disliked, respectively. Over half (55%) of all respondents disliked Twitter, and 49% disliked Amazon. 

Again, views were tied closely to political affiliation, with Republicans far more likely to dislike certain companies. They had a particular dislike for Facebook, with 87% viewing it unfavorably compared to just 40% of Democrats viewing it as unfavorable. 

GOP supporters also strongly disliked Twitter, Google, and Microsoft, in that order, while Democrats were far less likely to dislike those companies. 

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