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Voters Support Enacting Stronger Consumer Protections Online, Antitrust Action for Big Tech Companies
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Voters Support Enacting Stronger Consumer Protections Online, Antitrust Action for Big Tech Companies

American voters see benefits to new technologies but express a strong desire for checks on technology companies’ power and more consumer protections of data and privacy.

A woman uses her laptop computer at an outdoor cafe in Jacksonville, Oregon, June 2019. (Getty/Robert Alexander)
A woman uses her laptop computer at an outdoor cafe in Jacksonville, Oregon, June 2019. (Getty/Robert Alexander)

New data from a national survey of 1,200 registered voters, commissioned by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Public Citizen and conducted by Change Research, show nearly three-quarters of voters agreeing that tech companies should be regulated more stringently and that tech monopolies should be broken up.

The primary reasons cited by voters for why they support regulating or breaking up technology companies include: (1) “They have too much control over what people see online and interfere too much with free speech and political discussion,” and (2) “They violate people’s privacy by collecting and selling personal information.”

Additionally, almost 9 in 10 voters strongly support a proposal to: “Make rules to ensure that all internet companies, regardless of size, don’t take advantage of consumers by abusing their data, using deceptive and unfair practices, or violating their civil rights.”

See the full results of the survey in a slide presentation here plus a memo outlining the major findings of this study here, both from Change Research.

Adam Conner is the vice president for Technology Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Erin Simpson is the associate director of Technology Policy at the Action Fund. John Halpin is a senior fellow at the Action Fund.

Methodology

Change Research surveyed 1,200 registered voters nationwide from June 7–12, 2021.

It used the following sources to recruit respondents:

  • Targeted advertisements on Facebook
  • Targeted advertisements on Instagram

Regardless of which of these sources a respondent came from, they were directed to a survey hosted on SurveyMonkey’s website.

Ads placed on social media targeted all adults nationwide. Those who indicated that they were not registered to vote were terminated. As the survey fielded, Change Research used dynamic online sampling: adjusting ad budgets, lowering budgets for ads targeting groups that were overrepresented, and raising budgets for ads targeting groups that were underrepresented, so that the final sample was roughly representative of the population across different groups. The survey was conducted in English.

The survey was commissioned by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Public Citizen and was conducted online by Change Research. Post-stratification was performed on region, gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, and vote history. Weighting parameters were based on the demographic composition of registered voters and 2020 voters nationwide, obtained from the voter file.

The modeled margin of error for this survey is 3.7 percent, which uses effective sample sizes that adjust for the design effect of weighting.

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Authors

Adam Conner

Vice President, Technology Policy

Erin Simpson

Director, Technology Policy

John Halpin

Senior Fellow; Co-Director, Politics and Elections