A new Industry Survey reveals where Tech Workers stand on 5 key issues including 'Is Big Tech too Powerful,' and is it time to Regulate AI
We all know that Big Tech executives do a lot of talking. On their platforms, in interviews and on Capitol Hill. But Silicon Valley's uber-rich and powerful CEOs don't speak for the whole tech industry or even their own employees, who are increasingly finding themselves at odds with their companies' most senior leadership.
To take a pulse of where tech employees across the country stand on key issues facing the industry, Protocol, a new media company from the publisher of POLITICO, has introduced its first Tech Employee Survey, a survey of 1,504 employees nationwide, from C-suite level executives to associates. They hail mostly from large tech companies — almost 40% of respondents work at companies with annual revenue over $500 million and most of the companies have more than 1,000 employees.
Protocol asked questions on a host of key issues from whether Big Tech should be broken up, to the threat posed by China and more to see how their answers align with or diverge from the industry party line. Below is but a snippet of what they found:
Is Big Tech too Powerful?
A whopping 78% of the tech employees they surveyed agreed that the tech industry is too powerful, with just 11% disagreeing. The same goes for Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet and Apple. Over 77% of respondents said those companies have too much power, and just over 8% disagreed.
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Not only did the majority say that the industry is too powerful, but around 40% also said that tech does more harm than good. Only about 45% of tech employees disagreed, signaling that even within the industry, tech workers worry about the negative impact technology is having on the world.
And yet, remedies are in short supply. More than 68% want their companies to partner with or be acquired by a Big Tech player, and three quarters said Big Tech companies should be allowed to acquire other firms. Just over 40% think that Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet and Apple should be broken up. Despite their concerns about tech's power and negative influence, tech employees don't see antitrust enforcement as the solution.
A Majority want Section 230 Reform
Even people within the tech industry agree it's high time to reform Section 230, the law underpinning the modern internet — that is, if they know what it is.
Only 62% of respondents said they knew what Section 230 was (the rest said they either don't know or are neutral). But of that 62%, nearly three quarters — 71% — said they agree the law needs to be reformed.
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For the responses to the other three questions about whether the U.S. should work with Chinese tech companies; whether it was time to regulate AI; and whether Big Tech should work with Law Enforcement, check out the full report by Protocol.