Social media users want more regulation, fearing misinformation will impact 2024 election

by | Mar 18, 2024 | Public Relations

US congressmen and women aren’t the only ones questioning the validity of and risks associated with social media—with the House’s move to potentially ban TikTok nationwide, new survey research from media-engagement profile network Media.com finds that 70 percent of social media users are moderately to extremely concerned that misinformation will impact the 2024 U.S. Presidential election. 

Survey respondents were also inclined to hold social media companies accountable for misinformation and hate speech, with a slim majority (51 percent) favoring increased regulation and 62 percent calling for legal action against social platforms that allow misinformation to spread. 

Most say they can spot misinformation, but it still has a significant impact

A majority of respondents (63 percent) said they feel confident in their ability to spot misinformation on social media. Yet when asked, some 60 percent said they had shared information they later found to be false. And when asked how misinformation impacts our lives, 68 percent of respondents said it causes confusion, 64 percent believe it undermines trust, and 60 percent feel it influences public opinion. 

“Misinformation and fake profiles are eating away at trust and confidence which is critical to a functional society” said James Mawhinney, CEO and founder of the Media.com network, in a news release. “These survey results show there is a very real concern about the impact of misinformation. It is particularly concerning considering the amount of time we spend consuming content from unverified sources.”

Facebook is the worst at curbing misinformation, followed by TikTok and X

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they think Facebook is doing the poorest job of curbing misinformation, followed closely by TikTok and X (formerly Twitter) at 44 percent each. When asked what changes social networks should make to address the challenge of misinformation, 57 percent said fact-checking all content; 55 percent supported identity verification for all profiles to eliminate bots; and 42 percent favored an automatic ban for those who spread false information.

“Social networks in their current forms are breeding grounds for misinformation. It is inevitable that they will ultimately be forced to introduce measures to help curb the spread of fake profiles and misinformation,” said Mawhinney. “When nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of Americans say that fake profiles and misinformation could impact the outcome of the presidential election, it highlights a very real societal issue which must be addressed to protect the public.” 

A new tool for the misinformation age

Aligned with the survey’s findings, Media.com—which was started to help combat misinformation—reinforces its commitment to empowering users to counter misinformation. The platform allows individuals, brands and their PR representatives to publish accurate information, respond to false narratives, and manage their reputation directly, offering a robust solution to the misinformation challenge. 

A total of 1,005 respondents across the U.S. who were 18 or older, a social media user and used one or more social media platforms completed the survey. This data was collected during January 2024.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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