American Consumers Reject Government Intervention in Tech: “Let Us Pick Internet Platform Winners and Losers.” New NetChoice Research Finds
Just 5% Say Regulators Should Focus Anti-Competitive Enforcement on Tech
Americans Prefer Interest-Based Ads Over Paying for Content By a 3-1 Margin
SEPTEMBER 12, 2018, Washington, DC – State and federal legislators on both sides of the aisle have called for more regulation of the technology industry. However, new research from NetChoice shows that Americans want a light regulatory touch for tech companies, believing that consumer spending and online surfing habits should be the ultimate means of ensuring competition and consumer choice.
According to a survey* of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers conducted by Zogby Analytics, only 5% said that regulators should focus anti-competitive enforcement on the tech industry. Only 10% think the government should prevent successful online businesses from acquiring other companies.
“There is a disconnect between American consumers and the anti-tech community,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. “Americans prefer to make their own decisions rather than having a heavy-handed government determine what is ‘best’ for them.”
Indeed, the NetChoice research found that 48% say government regulations on the Internet are bad for consumers with only 16% believing that Apple, Google, and Facebook could not be unseated by better competitors. Further, 72% say that apps like Google and Facebook enable them to be in better touch with their community and 71% of those aged 18-34 have discovered small businesses thanks to online platforms.
“It is clear that Americans are willing to explore other online options and don’t feel locked in to Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple,” DelBianco said. “More than 40% have stopped using a social media platform, with 29% of them saying they left for a better competitor. The benefits of Internet platforms are clear to consumers, but they will jump ship if a better product comes along.”
Other survey findings included:
Internet Platforms Generate Significant Economic Benefits
- 77% say digital ads are valuable for small businesses (36% very valuable)
- 70% say digital advertising platforms are valuable to the national economy
No Need for Heavy-Handed Government Intervention
- 40% say any tech breakup would mainly reward traditional industries competing with tech or anti-business groups.
- 75% say parents should be allowed to have their children use message apps that do not collect personal information.
- 85% say parents are best equipped to determine what tech is best for their children.
- Only 6% would support a mandate that phone screens default to black and white instead of color.
- 86% of those with an opinion said that the government should not prevent tech companies from acquiring startups.
The Ad-Supported Model Works
- 42% prefer ad-supported Internet platforms that deliver ads based on preferences
- 29% prefer ad-supported Internet platforms that deliver the same ads to all
- Only 16% willing to pay for online platform services
*About the Survey: From August 6-8, 2018 Zogby Analytics conducted an interactive survey of 1,222 adults focused on consumer attitudes toward Internet platforms and government regulation. The survey, commissioned by NetChoice, has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.
About NetChoice: NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce businesses and online consumers all of whom share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.