Majority of Americans Think That They Should Be Allowed To Express Their Views On Social Media Even If They Are Offensive

As the public has been requesting for the online policymakers to control the content that is posted online, they themselves are unable to conclude how this action should be done. One of the factors is that nowadays, a large percentage of people believe in the freedom of speech of an individual.

Even though this is the case, people need to understand the cons of doing so and that there should be at least some limitations of what to put out there and what not to. The new report of the Gallup and Knight Foundation state that almost 65% of the Americans favor the idea of letting people express their views on social media, no matter if they are offensive while only 35% believe in letting people only post those things which are suitable for everyone to read.



In conclusion, the majority of the audience wants to be able to say what they want on the internet, however still with some limitations imposed on it. A huge number of people agreed that things like child pornography should not be allowed to put up on the Internet. On the other hand, 85% of the people also agree that deceptive information should be removed from social media e.g. misleading health information. One of the biggest examples of this that we are experiencing in our lives at the moment is the false information that is being spread about COVID-19. Some of these details are so absurd and can also lead to more people being affected eventually.



The main problem with stopping false information is that who will be the person deciding that it is false, which leads to another problem which is that who should be trusted enough to believe them.

The study also took into consideration the view of people, whether they trust social media companies to make the right decisions about what to post on these apps and sites and almost 84% don’t really do so. On the contrary, even fewer people trust the government to make the correct decisions.

Taking into account the new poll of Gallup and Knight Foundation about Section 230, asking people if they think these laws have more harmful than good effects because the companies who put up illegal content have not been made accountable or if they are more good effects because it has given the public on the internet a place to speak up and share their views. We know according to this poll that 54% of the survey participants agree on section 230 doing more harm. A small number of people think that the sites are too shielded, due too which fewer people are motivated to monitor the content.

However, The legal expert Jeff Kossef has noticed that even now there is a lot of uncertainty amongst people about how the laws in Section 230 are carried out.

Recently, Facebook has announced a New Oversight Board which would help it decide more easily on what types of content should be allowed to be posted and which should be restricted for the public to post. The study also questioned the audience about this and at first, they did not support it, but after learning more about the Oversight Board they (81% of the people) started favoring it. Even with this Oversight board of Facebook, it might not much of a use to make many changes after the 2020 Elections.


Due to the confusion caused by Section 230 for the people and the various attempts to remake these laws, it may be a better option if making decisions are not left for these social media platforms to make, rather appointing Individual Oversight Boards to be consulted on any event of a policy changing.

The online surveys, polls, and reports mentioned above had been conducted in December 2019, among 1,628 Gallup Panel members and in March 2020, among 1,449 Gallup Panel members. There is almost a plus or minus 3% margin of error in the figures used above.

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