Washington Post

College students appear to covet big tech more than most Americans. Despite the flood of bad press, drip-drip revelations of abuse and recklessness, and panicked defenses before Congress, young people overwhelmingly believe tech companies have had a positive impact on their lives, according to our latest polling. Below are the key findings:


"Do you think big tech companies (like Facebook, Amazon and Twitter) are a net positive or negative for society?"

(n=840 respondents)

  • Very Positive 8.3%
  • Positive 62.7%
  • Negative 24.8%
  • Very Negative 4.2%


Bigger Picture: The general public is much less generous. A July survey by Pew found that only 50% of Americans had a positive view of technology companies - a steep dip from 71% in 2015.

• Current college students were mainly born sometime between 1997-2001. Only some of the companies that comprise the subjective "Big Tech" catchall (which we chose not to define) existed when this segment of Gen-Z turned 10. Yet, more than previous generations, Gen-Z has lived most of its life riding in Ubers, ordering essentials from Amazon, and scrolling on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.


Read between the lines: It's likely that students' strong embrace of big tech is likely tied to their inelastic demand for the goods supplied. Where young people - particularly those who support tech-busting candidates like Warren - might have ideological gripe with big tech, but view it positively for their undeniably useful services.


The upshot: When it comes to rallying support for breaking up big tech, young people may support the notion of fairer payment structures, and de-monopolizing, but don't expect Gen-Z to support measures that make it harder for them to access these apps and services.


Methodology:

Data in this report are generated from a poll conducted between October 8th-10th, 2019. A

total of 840 panelists participated in the poll. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 3.3 points.


College Reaction’s polling is conducted using a demographically-representative panel of

college students from around the country. The surveys are administered digitally and use college e-mail

address as an authentication tool to ensure current enrollment in a four-year institution. The target population for the

general population sample was students currently enrolled in accredited 4-year institutions in the US.


Respondents in this poll were randomly selected from a respondent database, which

aims to mirror the broader college demographic from a racial, geographic and political

standpoint. Results are weighted to mirror race and gender statistics of the college demographic as defined by the National Center for Education statistics.

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