Poll: Almost Two-Thirds Say Social Media Platforms Tearing Nation Apart

Poll: Almost Two-Thirds Say Social Media Platforms Tearing Nation Apart Poll: Almost Two-Thirds Say Social Media Platforms Tearing Nation Apart (Denis Charlet/AFP via Getty)

By Brian Freeman | Sunday, 09 May 2021 04:51 PM

Sixty-four percent of Americans say social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are doing more to divide the nation than bring it together, according to an NBC News poll released over the weekend.

Only 27% say that they do more to bring the country together.

Other results from the survey show:

  • When this question was last asked in March two years ago, 57% said social media platforms do more to divide the nation, while 35% said they do more to unite.
  • In the latest poll, those saying the platforms do more to divide the U.S. includes a majorities of Republicans (77%), independents (65%) and Democrats (54%).
  • Other groups saying social media does more to divide the nation are whites (70%), Latinos (56%), seniors (71%) and young adults (61%).
  • Black respondents were the one demographic who were split on the question, with 42% saying the platforms are more divisive and 40% saying they are more unifying.
  • Despite these feelings overall towards social media, 66% say they use it once a day or more, while 33% don't, figures which are essentially unchanged from when the same question was asked in 2018 and 2019.
  • Among daily social media users, 49% say social media platforms make their lives better, while 37% say they make them worse.
  • Democrats, women and college graduates are more likely to say that social media make their lives better, while Republicans, men and those without college degrees are more likely to say the opposite.
  • Fifty-four percent of parents say that, during the pandemic, the time their children have spent on computer screens, phones, tablets and televisions has gone up, 38% say it has stayed the same, and 4% say it’s gone down.
  • Among those parents who said their children’s screen time has gone up during the pandemic, the average increase was 154 minutes per day.
  • When talking about their own screen time, 43% of respondents say it has increased during the pandemic, 49% say it has remained the same, and 8% say it’s gone down.

The poll was carried out between April 17-20, with the margin of error for the 1,000 adult respondents at +/1 3.1 percentage points. The margin of error for the 655 adults who use social media daily is +/ 3.8 percentage points, while for the 238 parents with children under the age of 18 it is +/ 6.4 percentage points.