Many also believe that social media companies and their users are to blame. According to a poll by The Pearson Institute, and The Associated Press -NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, few people are concerned about their own responsibility.
Ninety-five per cent of Americans identified misinformation a problem when trying to access vital information. Half of Americans blame the U.S. government. About three quarters blame social media users and tech companies. Only 2 out of 10 Americans are concerned about misinformation they have spread.
A majority of them, 6 out 10 percent, are concerned that their family members or friends may have contributed to the problem.
Carmen Speller, a 33 year-old graduate student from Lexington, Kentucky, sees the divisions when she talks about the coronavirus pandemic in close family members. Speller believes COVID-19 vaccinations, but her family doesn't. She believes that the misinformation she and her family have seen or read on questionable news websites has influenced their decision to not vaccinate against COVID-19.
Some of her family members believe she is crazy for trusting government officials for COVID-19 information.
"They do believe that I am misinformed." Speller stated that he is the one who blindly follows the government's advice, something he hears a lot. It's caused a lot tension with my family, and some of my close friends.
Speller is not the only one having these disagreements with her family.
A survey revealed that 61% of Republicans believe the U.S. government is responsible for misinformation spreading, while 38% of Democrats disagree.
However, there is more agreement between the parties about the role social media companies (including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook) play in spreading misinformation.
The poll found that 79% of Republicans and 73% among Democrats believe social media platforms are responsible for misinformation.
This rare partisan agreement could spell trouble for tech giants such as Facebook, which is being attacked by both Republican and Democrat lawmakers.
Konstantin Sonin is a professor of public policies at the University of Chicago and is associated with the Pearson Institute. "The AP–NORC poll is bad for Facebook." It is clear that Facebook attacks are popular, even though Congress is divided 50-50 and each side has its reasons.
After a whistleblower's testimony that Facebook's algorithms amplified misinformation and harmful content, Senators promised to hit Facebook with new regulations during a Tuesday congressional hearing.
"It has profited from spreading misinformation, disinformation, and sowing hatred," Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. said during a meeting at the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. Democrats and Republicans concluded the hearing by acknowledging that regulations are needed to alter the way Facebook targets its users and amplifies its content.
A poll revealed that Americans don't want to be blamed for spreading misinformation. 53% said they aren't concerned about it.
"We see this often where people are worried about misinformation, but they think it's something that happens to others -- other people get fooled, other people spread it," Lisa Fazio, a Vanderbilt University psychology professor, said. Lisa Fazio studies the spread of false claims. "Most people don’t realize their role in this."
Adults younger than 60 are more likely to believe they have shared falsehoods. 25% of people between 18 and 29 worry that they may have spread misinformation. Only 14% of older adults are concerned. Sixty-three per cent of older adults don't worry, which is roughly half the number of Americans.
Fazio stated that older adults should be more concerned about spreading misinformation because research has shown they are more likely to share articles from false news websites.
Speller makes sure that the information she is sharing about COVID-19 to her family and friends on Facebook has been peer reviewed or comes from a reliable medical institution. Speller admits that there have been times when she didn't understand the details and "liked" or "shared" a post.
Speller stated, "I'm certain it has happened." "I don't share anything on social media that isn't on verified sites. If someone pointed out that something is not right, I would be open to it.