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Nearly two-thirds of Americans would support breaking up tech firms by undoing recent mergers, such as Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, if it means ensuring more competition in the future.
Another tech company issue appears to strike a chord with people even more: Almost seven in 10 Americans say it’s a good idea to break up big tech companies when the content they’re showing people is ranked depending on whether the company is making money off of it or not. Basically, when you search for a suitcase to buy on Amazon, it might show you options from its proprietary AmazonBasics line instead of from a company it doesn’t own.
That’s according to polling from progressive think tank Data for Progress in partnership with YouGov Blue shared exclusively with Vox.
And the results hold across most age groups, education levels, demographics, and political ideologies.
Across political party identification, Americans are pretty consistent about breaking up Big Tech. The poll shows that on the more extreme ends of both the left and the right, there is more enthusiasm on the matter.
Forty-two percent of Americans who consider themselves very liberal and 40 percent of those who say they’re very conservative strongly support breaking up tech companies to foster competition, while about 30 percent of those who identify as liberal or conservative say the same. (Moderates and people unsure of their political affiliation showed the lowest support). On breaking up for content, 56 percent of people who say they’re very liberal and 47 percent of people who say they’re very conservative back breaking up Big Tech.
This isn’t particularly surprising — politicians on both sides of the aisle have been ramping up their scrutiny of Big Tech recently. But it’s not entirely clear what we (or many of those lawmakers) really mean when we talk about breaking up tech companies. How to address technology companies — not only in terms of antitrust but also on items such as security and data privacy — is in its policy infancy.
The poll was conducted from September 11 to September 13 and is based on 1,280 interviews conducted by YouGov online of self-identified voters.