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Americans to the Internet: Clean Up your Act


Harris Interactive Poll Reveals an Aversion to Objectionable Online Posts

SAN FRANCISCO, CA., May 10, 2018 — A new poll shows Americans want social media businesses like Facebook and Twitter and other online discussion platforms to restrict objectionable material in their online feeds. More than 80% believe content that is violent, expressing extremist views, bullying, or adult in nature should always be censored or at least reviewed and moderated. Over 60% believe action should be taken to censor or moderate profanity, unverified customer complaints, and biased news stories.

Although the First Amendment doesn’t apply to the private companies that host social media and discussion websites, leaders on Capitol Hill and elsewhere have questioned whether these businesses are doing enough to suppress distasteful material, or in some cases, whether they are actually being too restrictive. Notably, the poll reveals that consumers would like networking sites and online communities to be more diligent in at least reviewing and moderating the content posted on their platforms, if not censoring it outright.

The online survey of 1,050 U.S. consumers conducted by Harris Interactive Poll on behalf of ModSquad, put forth a wide range of user-generated content categories from illegal activities to product reviews. The goal was to learn what, if any, of the content should be censored, moderated or always allowed. Some key findings include:

  • 52% want graphic violence censored.
  • 62% think personal harassment (bullying) should be censored compared to only 7% who think it should always be allowed.
  • 44% feel product/service reviews should always be allowed, while 34% think they should be “reviewed and moderated.”
  • Americans are not keen on profanity online, with 7 in 10 wanting it censored or reviewed and moderated.
  • A look at generational preferences reveals that a characterization of Millennials (22–37) as the most easily offended segment of the population might be unfair.  In the context of prejudiced and extremist views online, for example, 80% of Millennials want either censorship or review and moderation, but so did 83% of the rest of the population.

“People sometimes confuse freedom of speech with the ability to post anything they want online, and that’s just not the case,” said Amy Pritchard, founder and CEO of ModSquad. “It is a tricky issue for networking and media sites to permit some types of content and exclude others, but this poll indicates that online platforms should set clear expectations of their users and undertake decisive moderation actions when it’s necessary for the safety and enjoyment of all.”

For more information on the survey and results, contact us at [email protected].

Harris Interactive Poll Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of ModSquad from April 11–12, 2018 among a nationally representative sample of 1,050 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is a full-service international market research agency. At Harris our legacy, expertise, and relationships made us who we are but technology drives our future and speed of delivery allows us to anticipate challenges. For more information, visit:

About ModSquad

ModSquad is a global provider of on-demand digital engagement services, known as ModSourcing: outsourcing modernized. Our experienced professionals engage your customers and communities on a personal level across online, mobile, e-commerce, in-game, application, and social media channels. ModSquad offers expert-level service in customer support, moderation, social, and community. We’ve strategized, designed, and delivered digital initiatives for clients in more than 70 countries, with the capacity to respond in 50+ languages and dialects. We are the Mods!


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