On Wednesday, three of the biggest tech companies in the country will testify before Congress on how their products facilitated Russian meddling in the 2016 elections; the goal of the investigation is to prevent foreign powers from influencing elections going forward. A new poll from Axios and SurveyMonkey suggests Americans don’t have much faith in either party to accomplish that goal.
Of the 5,474 people surveyed, 43 percent said they don’t trust the federal government or technology companies to keep the influence of foreign governments out of U.S. elections. Just 20 percent said they trust both. Republicans who participated in the study are a bit more skeptical, with 51 percent saying they trust neither the feds nor Big Tech to police foreign meddling. Thirty-five percent of Democrats said they trust neither institution.
There’s a big discrepancy between what Americans believe their government and tech titans should do about foreign election interference and what they trust the powers that be to actually accomplish. Axios asked participants who has “a responsibility to identify and prevent foreign governments’ interference in U.S. politics and elections” using tech platforms and 53 percent answered both tech firms and the government. Fifty-four percent see Russians’ use of sites like Facebook and Twitter as a serious issue that should be investigated.
America’s mistrust of Big Tech isn’t new. It has been smoldering as these companies have grown and amassed huge amounts of data on their users. But revelations about the role these firms played in Russian election interference have fanned the flames. That means Google, Facebook, and Twitter will be under intense scrutiny on Wednesday — not just from federal investigators but from the American people as well.
Read Axios’ full reporting on Russian election meddling here.