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Americans Attention Shift From Gun Control

Americans Interest in Gun Control Drops

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Gun control
A man wears an unloaded pistol during a pro gun-rights rally at the state capitol, Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Austin, Texas. Gun rights supporters rallied across the United States to counter a recent wave of student-led protests against gun violence. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) VOA
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In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, many Americans said gun control was the most important issue facing the country.

That has changed, despite high profile events like school walk outs and the March for Our Lives protests.

A recent Gallup public opinion poll found those who think gun control is the most important issue dropped from 13 percent, a record, to six percent in just one month.

Now, more Americans think dissatisfaction with government (23 percent), immigration (11 percent) and race relations (seven percent) are all more important than gun control.

Person holding a gun
A person holding a gun. Pixabay

Gallup noted gun control interest spikes after shootings, but the “effects have tended to be temporary.”   But the polling organization said interest in the topic of gun control remains “elevated by historical standards,” adding that since 2001, it has been mentioned, on average, by one percent of Americans as the top problem in the U.S.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2012 shooting in Sandy Hook, four percent of Americans said gun control was the top issue, a jump from zero percent.  Gallup said it remained high for a “few months” and even got as high as seven percent, but when Congress did not pass gun control legislation, the percentage of Americans saying gun control as the top issue dropped back to zero.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gallup found Democrats were twice as likely to think gun violence is among the most important issues compared to Republicans by eight to four percent respectively.  Democrats also saw the biggest drop in those saying guns were the top problem, dropping by half in just one month.

The Parkland shooting did spur the House of Representatives to pass “The STOP School Violence Act“, which authorizes $50 million per year to fund initiatives and otheThe Parkland shooting did spur the House of Representatives to pass “The r training aimed at enhancing school safety.  The bill would also provide $25 million to make schools less vulnerable by adding metal detectors, better door locks and response technologies to allow schools to notify law enforcement about emergencies.

The April Gallup poll contacted 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, in all 50 states and Washington D.C. between April 2-11.  The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.  VOA

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Want To Know What Facebook, Google Know About You?

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Facebook
An image showing a Facebook logo reflected in a person's eye. VOA

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies in front of Congress about the company’s practices this week, Americans are waking up to just how much personal information tech companies have collected about them.

Facebook said it will begin notifying 87 million people this week whose information was handed to political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica without their knowledge. Facebook has also instigated several changes to make it easier for users to control their data.

While these and other changes may reassure customers, they also keep the spotlight on the question that has made many Americans anxious: What personal information do tech companies like Google and Facebook have, and what do they do with it?

A Google picture.
FILE – Security personnel answer a call at the reception counter of the Google office in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. VOA

To find out, both companies offer multiple ways of checking on personal data and deleting it.

In addition, Facebook has begun letting individual users know whether their data ended up with Cambridge Analytica.

The company has provided a link for people to check for themselves whether their data – and what data specifically – was shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Google

What Google knows might surprise some. If its “Location History” feature is turned on, the company knows the route of your bike ride from the day before and where you had dinner with the kids.

It keeps your search history and YouTube history, both searched and watched.

If you want to know all the apps that have access to your Google data, there’s a quick way to check.

Also Read: US Lawmakers Demand To Change The CEO Of Facebook

To find out everything Google knows, go to takeout.google.com or myaccount.google.com and click on “download all data.” Under “control your content,” you will be asked to create an archive. Depending on when you started to use Google, this process can take hours.

Google promises that “only you can see this data” and offers ways to zap individual chunks of data or whole categories, such as the search history. But the company also reminds users that deleting data may affect the ability of Google products and services to offer personalized help in the future.

The icon of Facebook.
Facebook icon. Pixabay

Facebook

With a new category under settings called “Accessing Your Information,” the social media giant recently made it easier for a user to download his or her data.

Among the items that will be downloaded are posts, photos and videos, as well as all messages and chat conversations. The downloaded file also includes interests and other topics that advertisers may use to send targeted ads. In addition, it includes all advertisers with the user’s contact information. Users can look at what third-party apps they log in by using their Facebook account.

If a user begins the process of deleting his or her account, Facebook takes a moment to show photos of people the person knows with a reminder that the person will “miss you” if the user leaves Facebook.

As consumers see their digital profiles, they may ask why this information is being collected and whether there should be new limits.

A recent U.S. poll found that 41 percent of Americans trusted Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws. Users put more trust in Facebook’s rivals — 66 percent trusted Amazon, and 62 percent trusted Alphabet, Google’s parent company.  VOA