February 23, 2018
More than one-quarter of Americans believe that social media site Facebook should be fined for its role in Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.
The online survey of 1,000 people, conducted by market research firm Honest Data, “casts new light on the American populace’s view of Facebook’s culpability in those alleged crimes,” USA Today reports.
The survey was completed just two days before Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three businesses—including an internet firm tied to the Kremlin—on charges of conspiracy, identity theft, failing to register as foreign agents, and violating laws that limit the use of foreign money in U.S. elections.
But, long before this month’s indictments, Facebook already had been implicated: After initially dismissing a suggestion that Facebook may have played a part in a foreign influence campaign by running ads and “fake news” from the Russians, last November, CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that there had been interference and vowed to stop it.
According to Honest Data, a polling firm founded by ex-Facebook employee Tavis McGinn, 28% of Americans with an online presence believe that Facebook should be fined for allowing the spread of Russian misinformation.
The possibility of a fine for Facebook stems from calls by Democratic lawmakers to more strongly regulate the social network and online political
However, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch testified before the Senate last October that as many as 126 million people—roughly one-third of the U.S. population—had been exposed to posts from Russian accounts, thanks to the impact of seemingly organic user posts along with the ads. The following month, Facebook revealed the number was closer to 146 million.
During an interview with USA Today last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to stop election interference, but admitted that he did not know whether that would happen by November midterm elections. “We have a pretty good track record as a company of — once we set our mind to doing something — we eventually get it done.”
Research contact: @brettmolina23.