In the 12 years since Barack Obama first mastered the art of digital campaigning, social media has grown into a central feature of American public life. So much so, that the CEOs of both Facebook and Twitter were recently called to testify before the U.S. Senate about the potential influence that their companies may have on electoral outcomes. But when it comes to politics, social media’s growing importance should not necessarily be mistaken for a vote of public confidence.
A recent survey conducted at the University of South Florida examined the role that Facebook played in the 2020 election and found an interesting paradox: While Floridians are increasingly turning to social media to stay up to date and informed about politics, many are dissatisfied with the quality of the information they encounter online.
The survey — which was conducted between Oct. 10 and Oct. 17 — asked a representative sample of 600 Floridians how heavily they relied on Facebook to stay informed about the Presidential election. Consistent with national trends, more than half (58 percent) indicated that they relied on Facebook at least “a little,” while nearly a third (31 percent) answered “a lot.”
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