When asked whether social media is a good or bad thing for democracy in their country, a median of 57% across 19 countries say that it is a good thing. In almost every country, close to half or more say this, with the sentiment most common in Singapore, where roughly three-quarters believe social media is a good thing for democracy in their country. However, in the Netherlands and France, about four-in-ten agree. And in the U.S., only around a third think social media is positive for democracy – the smallest share among all 19 countries surveyed. In eight countries, those who believe that the political system in their country allows them to have an influence on politics are also more likely to say that social media is a good thing for democracy. This gap is most evident in Belgium, where 62% of those who feel their political system allows them to have a say in politics also say that social media is a good thing for democracy in their country, compared with 44% among those who say that their political system does not allow them much influence on politics. Those who view the spread of false information online as a major threat to their country are less likely to say that social media is a good thing for democracy, compared with those who view the spread of misinformation online as either a minor threat or not a threat at all. This is most clearly observed in the Netherlands, where only four-in-ten (39%) among those who see the spread of false information online as a major threat say that social media has been a good thing for democracy in their country, as opposed to the nearly six-in-ten (57%) among those who do not consider the spread of misinformation online to be a threat who say the same. This pattern is evident in eight other countries as well. Views also vary by age. Older adults in 12 countries are less likely to say that social media is a good thing for democracy in their country when compared to their younger counterparts. In Japan, France, Israel, Hungary, the UK and Australia, the gap between the youngest and oldest age groups is at least 20 percentage points and ranges as high as 41 points in Poland, where nearly nine-in-ten (87%) younger adults say that social media has been a good thing for democracy in the country and only 46% of adults over 50 say the same.
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