Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

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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.

Publications
Internet & TechSeptember 5, 2018

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.

Internet & TechJuly 11, 2018

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

Internet & TechJune 28, 2018

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

Internet & TechApril 30, 2018

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.

Internet & TechApril 9, 2018

Bots in the Twittersphere

An estimated two-thirds of tweeted links to popular websites are posted by automated Twitter accounts – not human beings.

Internet & TechMarch 1, 2018

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.

Internet & TechJanuary 4, 2018

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.

Internet & TechJanuary 12, 2017

Record shares of Americans now own smartphones, have home broadband

Here are four key trends illustrating the current technology landscape in America.

Internet & TechDecember 19, 2016

Most Americans don’t pay extra to support worker-friendly businesses

Around half of Americans say the question of working conditions is indeed important to them, though fewer are actually willing to pay more to support businesses that are seen as worker-friendly.

Internet & TechNovember 18, 2016

Why join the gig economy? For many, the answer is ‘for fun’

Nearly a quarter of Americans say they’ve earned money in the digital “platform economy” in the past year, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Perhaps surprisingly, though, the most commonly cited motivation for these workers is not the pay.