Poll: Floridians split on limiting offensive speech on social media
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Respondents were also split on the role government should play in regulating social media.

Floridians are split on what someone should and shouldn’t be able to say on social media — no matter how offensive. That’s according to a recently released poll conducted by researchers from the University of South Florida and Florida International University.

The poll, which surveyed 600 Floridians from July 2 through July 10, sought to gauge Floridians’ opinions on social media policy. The survey found that while Floridians believe these platforms have a responsibility to remove content deemed harmful or dangerous, opinions are split when it comes to other limitations on speech.

Floridians believe social media platforms should remove content deemed false/misleading (77%) or harmful/dangerous to individuals or groups (77%).

However, there is less agreement on whether users should be allowed to post content that may be considered offensive by others. The survey found that 61% of Floridians believe that people should be allowed to say whatever they want on social media platforms, regardless of whether others find it offensive; 39% disagree.

Another question asked if individuals “have a fundamental right to express their opinions/say what they’d like, regardless of whether their words are true or false.” The results found exactly half of respondents agreed, and the other half disagreed.

Respondents were also split on the role government should play in regulating social media, including ensuring that content is not false, misleading or hateful. About 52% of Floridians believe that social media platforms such as Twitter are “private spaces” that shouldn’t be regulated by government entities. About 28% view such platforms as “public squares” where government should regulate content, while 20% remain “unsure”.

Despite the support from Floridians to keep social media platforms “private spaces,” most say that they don’t trust social media platforms to do so in a fair and neutral way. Two-thirds (66%) indicated little to no belief in the possibility for fair moderation of content, with a plurality (32%) having no faith in their neutrality.

A majority also want more transparency from the companies — 64% believe Twitter’s algorithm for targeting content and ads should be publicly available. They also want media companies to do more to eliminate “bots” (non-human accounts) from the platform, with 88% in support.

Quotas were stratified by region of the state for geographical representativeness, and respondents were selected via stratified, quota sampling to ensure a representative sample (gender, age, race/ethnicity, education and party affiliation mirroring that of the state).

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


  • Henrietta Hunter

    July 21, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    hello americq

  • Henrietta Hunter

    July 21, 2022 at 4:12 pm


  • Henrietta Hunter

    July 21, 2022 at 4:12 pm


  • Ron Ogden

    July 21, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    In other words, everyone knows there is a problem but no one knows what to do about it.
    The solution is both simple and easy: shut the things off! Ignore social media, just like you ignored the old fashioned print press. Worked that time. Most of them died out. Do it again! Pretty soon Twitter et al will realize that nobody trusts them, and they will learn to be more reliable and evenhanded. I admit, it took a long time for rags like the St. Petersburg (ooops! Tampa Bay) Times, but even they are slowly coming face-to-face with reality.

  • Ron DeSantis Sucks

    July 21, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    Something that everyone has forgotten: you have no right to not be made uncomfortable or to not be exposed to opinions and statements that may be offensive or harmful. That’s just how it is. The far left has tried to shout people down for offensive ideas, while the right has tried to ban “woke” education on the grounds that it may make people feel “uncomfortable”. Both are outrageous. You do not have the right to not feel uncomfortable when learning about uncomfortable parts of our history, or to avoid being told things that do not align with your world view. Freedom of speech requires that much.

    That being said: private companies can ban whatever speech they would desire. The government should have no power to regulate speech or tell companies what they may or may not allow on their platforms. That’s also a fundamental part of freedom of speech.

  • Robin Lane

    July 29, 2022 at 12:10 am


Comments are closed.


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