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America’s love-hate relationship with social media, quantified

It’s complicated.

From behind a glass wall, a zookeeper shows a laptop screen to two orangutans.
Orangutans use social media, too, but do they like it?
Animal Press / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Millions of Americans use social media daily. But that doesn’t mean they love it. Or so they say.

Some of the most-used social media products in the world — Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram — are also some of the ones that Americans have strong negative feelings about, according to a recent Harris Poll that surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. adults online last month.

Case in point: Twitter. The service has 330 million monthly active users around the world, as of last September, and the U.S. president uses it to threaten nuclear war and blast the news media. Most people — 89 percent — are familiar with the platform, but they’re divided on how they feel about it, according to the poll. Some 46 percent of Americans surveyed wanted to, in the survey’s parlance, “kill it and hope it dies” while 43 percent wanted to “fuel it to keep it alive.”

On a much bigger scale is Facebook. With two billion monthly active users — a good chunk of the world’s population — it’s become an essential tool in many people’s lives. In the U.S. and Canada, 183 million people use it every day.

Still, 32 percent of those surveyed by Harris said they hoped Facebook would go away. (A bigger 64 percent said they think we should keep it.)

The Harris Poll also took a look at a number of other social media apps, which it broadly defined as a platform with a social component.

Dating platform Tinder — though not typically what you’d consider social media — was also largely disliked. About 43 percent of people want it to go away — about the same percentage who aren’t familiar with it in the first place. Pandora, which is most popular for its free internet radio service, is relatively well-liked, with 62 percent of people saying they want it to stick around and only 19 percent wanting it to disappear.

This Harris Poll was conducted online between Dec. 19 and 21, 2017, and surveyed 2,160 adults in the U.S. It is weighted to be representative of the population at large.

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