Aaron Smith is associate director of research on internet and technology issues at Pew Research Center. Much of his recent research focuses on the impact of technology on workforce and economic issues, Americans’ attitudes towards the sharing and gig economy, and the potential impact of advancements in workforce automation. He has also conducted studies examining the impact of the digital divide and the growing role of mobile devices in Americans’ digital access habits, the importance of technology to special populations such as older adults, and the role of digital platforms in connecting Americans to political and civic information. He has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Texas at Austin. Smith has testified before Congress and conducts regular briefings and media interviews on the Center’s technology research.
Public Attitudes Toward Computer Algorithms
Despite the growing presence of algorithms in daily life, the U.S. public expresses broad concerns over the fairness and effectiveness of computer programs making important decisions.
Many Turn to YouTube for Children’s Content, News, How-To Lessons
An analysis of videos suggested by the site’s recommendation engine finds that it directs users toward longer videos and more popular content.
What Worries People about Future Science and Tech Innovations?
According to new survey data, many fear that humans could lose their autonomy or even their free will
Many Facebook users don’t understand how the site’s news feed works
Around half of U.S. adults who use Facebook say they do not understand why certain posts but not others are included in their news feed. Older users are particularly likely to say they do not understand the workings of the news feed.
Activism in the Social Media Age
As the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag turns 5 years old, a look at its evolution on Twitter and how Americans view social media’s impact on political and civic engagement
Public Attitudes Toward Technology Companies
A majority of Republicans say technology firms support the views of liberals over conservatives and that social media platforms censor political viewpoints. Still, Americans tend to feel that these firms benefit them and – to a lesser degree – society
Declining Majority of Online Adults Say the Internet Has Been Good for Society
At the same time, the contours of connectivity are shifting: One-in-five Americans (20%) are now ‘smartphone only’ internet users at home.
Bots in the Twittersphere
An estimated two-thirds of tweeted links to popular websites are posted by automated Twitter accounts – not human beings.
Social Media Use in 2018
Facebook and YouTube dominate the social media landscape. But younger Americans, especially those ages 18 to 24, stand out in using a variety of platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter.
Crossing the Line: What Counts as Online Harassment?
Americans agree that certain behaviors – like direct personal threats – constitute online harassment. But they are more divided on others, such as sending unkind messages or publicly sharing a private conversation.