* From the Pew Research Center…
More than one-third of social media users are worn out by the amount of political content they encounter, and more than half describe their online interactions with those they disagree with politically as stressful and frustrating
The roughly two-thirds of American adults who use social media sites express a relatively wide range of opinions on the political interactions they witness and take part in on these platforms. Many feel overloaded by political content and view their social media interactions with those they disagree with as a source of frustration and annoyance. At the same time, a substantial minority of users enjoy the ability to consume political content and engage in discussions with people on the other side of issues:
* Nearly twice as many social media users say they are “worn out” by the amount of political content they see in their feeds (37%) as say they like seeing lots of political information (20%). Still, about four-in-ten (41%) indicate that they don’t feel particularly strongly one way or the other about the amount of political content they encounter on social media.
* 59% say their social media interactions with those with opposing political views are stressful and frustrating – although 35% find them interesting and informative.
* 64% say their online encounters with people on the opposite side of the political spectrum leave them feeling as if they have even less in common than they thought – although 29% say they end these discussions feeling that they have more in common than they might have anticipated. […]
Some 40% of users agree strongly with the notion that social media are places where people say things while discussing politics that they would never say in person (an additional 44% feel that this statement describes social media somewhat well).
Meanwhile, roughly half of users feel the political conversations they see on social media are angrier (49%), less respectful (53%) and less civil (49%) than those in other areas of life. At the same time, a notable minority feels that the political discussions they see on social media are largely reflective of the political discussions they witness in other areas of their lives: For instance, 39% of users feel that these interactions are no more less respectful than other political interactions they encounter. And a small share finds political debates on social media to be more civil (7%), more informative (14%) and more focused on important policy issues (10%) than those they see elsewhere. […]
When ignoring problematic content fails, social media users tend to utilize technological tools to remove troublesome users from their feeds entirely. Nearly one-third of social media users (31%) say they have changed their settings in order to see fewer posts from someone in their feed because of something related to politics, while 27% have blocked or unfriended someone for that reason. Taken together, this amounts to 39% of social media users – and 60% of them indicate that they took this step because someone was posting political content that they found offensive. […]
Even as their overall political attitudes differ dramatically, Democrats and Republicans (including independents and other nonpartisans who “lean” toward either party) tend to view and utilize social media in largely comparable ways. For instance, they are equally likely to say that they comment, post about or engage in political discussions on social media (10% of Republican users and 8% of Democrats do so often). And a nearly identical share from each party feels worn out by the amount of political material they encounter on social media (38% of Democrats and 37% of Republicans who use social media report this) or feel that the conversations they see on social media are angrier and less civil than in other venues where these conversations occur. However, Democrats who use social media are somewhat more likely to view these sites as useful vehicles for bringing new voices into the political arena.