To illuminate current attitudes about the potential impacts of online social interaction over the next decade, Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted a large-scale canvassing of technology experts, scholars, corporate practitioners and government leaders. Some 1,537 responded to this effort between July 1 and Aug. 12, 2016, and were asked:

In the next decade, will public discourse online become more or less shaped by bad actors, harassment, trolls, and an overall tone of griping, distrust, and disgust?

Respondents were asked to elaborate on how they anticipate online interaction progressing over the next decade and to consider the following prompts: 1) How do you expect social media and digital commentary will evolve in the coming decade? 2) Do you think we will see a widespread demand for technological systems or solutions that encourage more inclusive online interactions? 3) What do you think will happen to free speech? And 4) What might be the consequences for anonymity and privacy?

Predictions from experts about
the social climate of the internet in 2026


Read the full report “The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online” to read more expert predictions about the future of the internet’s social climate.