A new poll by Morning Consult shows Americans still largely trust Facebook to deliver their news, despite a recent allegation that the company regularly suppressed conservative news in the Trending Topics bar. (Facebook has denied any ideological bias.) Roughly half of the respondents had heard little to nothing about the alleged Trending Topics manipulation, and among those who had, many were comfortable with Facebook's level of control over its own platform.
Almost half of users said they were "somewhat" or "very" comfortable with social media companies controlling what news appears on their sites, compared with only 34 percent who were "not very comfortable" or "not comfortable." Below, you can see how partisan voting history affected those results.
It's difficult to be sure what those numbers mean. It can take months for news to fully penetrate the public consciousness, and opinions are sure to shift over time. Still, the poll suggests the partisan divide over the news may be overstated.
Thirty-one percent of respondents thought news stories should be determined entirely by the level of reader interest, compared with 11 percent who thought it should be left to editors at the company, and 29 percent who thought it should be a mix of the two. Those numbers were only slightly affected by party affiliation.
The survey also shows limited public appetite for government intervention in social media sites. Only 11 percent of respondents thought the federal government should play a role in deciding what users see on social media sites, while 58 percent thought the companies should retain control of what users see. Thirty percent of respondents gave no opinion.