Facebook, Google, Instagram, and other social media giants are based in the United States, where they have faced relatively little government oversight. But their reach extends around the world, influencing a wide spectrum of audiences in a variety of ways. A Northeastern survey of four diverse democracies found that people in other countries differ from Americans when it comes to opinions as to how social media companies should be regulated, with respondents in the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Mexico favoring stricter content moderation than people in the U.S.—especially in cases that cause harm or distress.
Governments around the world have debated regulations to curb the misinformation and hate speech that have proliferated on social media. The study, led by Northeastern journalism faculty members John Wihbey and Myojung Chung, compared public opinion across the four nations on issues of online censorship, free speech, and social-media regulation.