Just two years ago, the majority of Democratic and Republican Twitter users agreed that the platform was bad for American democracy. However, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March 2023, the share of Republican Twitter users who say the site is mostly bad for democracy has dropped from 60% to 21%. Similarly, the share of Democratic Twitter users who say the platform is mostly good for democracy has decreased from 47% to 24%.
Growing shares in both parties now say Twitter isn’t impacting American democracy – 36% of GOP users and 40% of Democratic users. Disinformation, harassment, and civility on the site are causing a growing chasm between Democratic and Republican users. The limits on post visibility (53 percent vs. 32 percent) and bans (43% vs. 19 percent) are seen as more significant problems by Republicans than by Democrats.
The decline in trust from both Democratic and Republican users comes amid a major shift in the platform. Last fall, tech billionaire Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter prompted significant changes to the site. These changes have been met with criticism that it could lead to misinformation and harassment going unchecked on the platform.
As the divide between Republican and Democratic Twitter users continues to grow, it remains to be seen how the platform will continue to shape the political discourse in the United States. In order for Twitter to remain a platform for meaningful discourse, it must make sure that it does not become a platform for misinformation and harassment. Only time will tell if the changes ushered in by Musk’s acquisition of the platform will lead to a healthier, more civil digital space.