Americans' views on tech firms turn sharply negative: poll
Smart Phone AFP/File / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

Americans' views on major technology firms have taken a dramatic negative turn in the past four years, with both Democrats and Republicans seeing the sector in a less positive light, a poll showed Monday.

The Pew Research Center study showed the percentage of people seeing tech firms as having "a positive impact" tumbled to 50 percent in a recent survey, down from 71 percent in 2015.

The survey found the percentage of those who feel tech firms have a "negative effect" nearly doubled during this period, to 33 percent from 17 percent.

Both Democrats and Republicans have a less favorable view of tech than a few years ago, but Republicans were more negative -- with only 44 percent seeing the industry in a positive light.

The survey comes amid growing criticism of Big Tech firms over issues such as privacy, data protection and social media manipulation, and with some political leaders calling for a breakup of dominant firms.

The US Justice Department last week said it was looking into whether major tech platforms engaged in anti-competitive actions or stifled rivals.

A Pew survey last year found 55 percent of Americans agreed that tech companies have too much power and influence, and 72 percent said it was likely that social media sites intentionally censor political viewpoints they find objectionable.

The new research also showed declining confidence in other institutions besides the tech industry, with lower favorable views on churches and religious organizations, colleges and universities and the news media.

The survey, which asks about the impact of seven major institutions and groups -- including banks, universities, the news media and religious organizations -- found that no more than about half of US adults say any of them are having a positive effect on the country.