Political ads are dominating the digital universe ahead of the presidential election in November. Whether you’re watching a YouTube video or browsing Facebook and Instagram, targeted ads from both parties consistently permeate your content. While these ads can be a little annoying if you’re a voter who’s made up their mind already, they can also spread misinformation and half-truths about candidates, policies and other voters. A new survey shows how a majority of Americans would just like political ads to remain off social media for good.
In a new survey from the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of U.S. adults said they believe social media companies should not allow any political ads on their platforms. Nearly a fifth of respondents said they should allow at least some, while a fourth said that all political ads should continue to be allowed on social media.
Republican respondents were much more likely to be in favor of allowing all political ads on social media, with 38 percent saying all ads should be allowed. Just 15 percent of Democrat respondents said the same.
In the same survey, 77 percent of U.S. adults said it isn’t acceptable that social media companies leverage user data for targeted political ads. Both Republicans and Democrats were in agreement that this practice was unacceptable.
Like the Pew survey points out, aversion to political ads isn’t new for large elections in the country. Americans generally don’t enjoy the onslaught of commercials and targeted ads across their favorite media. However, with the unprecedented wave of social media ads and evidence that misinformation is being spread to hundreds of thousands of voters, the future of political ads across the digital sphere could be called into question for future elections.
This chart shows the percentage of Americans who say social media companies should allow political ads on their platforms.