Cancel culture is the latest trend in public shaming. When a celebrity or public figure makes a misstep or says something controversial, cancel culture swoops in. And like any trend, cancel culture has its pros and cons.

On one hand, cancel culture is seen as a way to hold those in power accountable for their actions. It’s a tool for promoting social justice and addressing power imbalances. On the other hand, critics argue that cancel culture is nothing more than an online mob, drunk on power and eager to destroy lives.

While public figures may face backlash and call for accountability, very few have actually experienced career-ending consequences. Cancel culture may be a powerful force in holding individuals accountable, but it’s not always the ultimate death sentence that some make it out to be. Although, if it is an effective way to hold those in positions accountable, or is it punishment without a chance for redemption, remains unanswered.

This trend has always been a part of every culture since the inception of hero-worshiping but the advent of social media created a platform for cancel culture to thrive as freedom of expression became just a few clicks away. With social media democracy, it’s easier than ever to pile on and join the mob, without taking a step back to consider the consequences of one’s actions.

Therefore, the question of whether cancel culture is an effective way to hold powerful individuals accountable, or if it is simply another form of senseless mob rule, is raised. Hence, Real Research, an online survey app, has launched a survey on Public Opinion on Cancel Culture to explore people’s perspectives on this topic.

Key Points

  • 50.73% admit that they are familiar with the term and aware of cancel culture
  • Nearly 40% stated that they have never practiced or witnessed cancel culture
  • Cancel culture should be reformed to include due process and fair treatment, suggests 37.73%

Aware and Awake

Based on the survey data, it appears that more than 50% of the respondents are familiar with Cancel Culture, with around 30% stating that they are somewhat familiar with it. This finding indicates that the term, along with its practice, is widely known, particularly in the era of social media.

Furthermore, 20.1% defined cancel culture as a necessary tool to hold individuals or groups accountable for harmful behavior, followed by 19.49% identifying the practice as a way to silence unpopular or controversial topics, and 18.59% calling it a practice of boycotting or shaming individuals or groups for their views or actions. Respondents defining this practice as a form of online mob justice were the lowest (12.17%).

Fig 1: Familiarity with the term ‘Cancel Culture.’
Fig 1: Familiarity with the term ‘Cancel Culture.’

Keeping It Away

The data reveals that nearly 40% of respondents admitted that they have never practiced or witnessed cancel culture.

However, it’s worth noting that 32.76% acknowledged that they had witnessed this practice, and 27.46% confessed that they had participated in it. These numbers demonstrate that even though the larger population wants to move away from unethical practices, there will still be some lingering anti-social movements activated by a few “bad apples” which are enough to spoil the bunch.

Fig 2 Witnessing or Participating in Cancel Culture
Fig 2: Witnessing or Participating in Cancel Culture

Choosing the Neutral Route

When asked about their thoughts on cancel culture being a necessary tool for social justice, 37.58% chose to neither agree nor disagree, while 23.49% and 21.09% somewhat agreed and strongly agreed, respectively. Only 12.65% and 5.19% disagreed.

Additionally, 37.43% remained neutral when asked if they thought cancel culture is a threat to freedom of speech and expression. The majority, however, agreed that it is indeed a threat to freedom of speech and expression (23.94% strongly agreed and 25.75% somewhat agreed).

The data revealed that most respondents remained neutral while answering the questions in this survey, which could mean that they were neither supportive of the practice, nor were reducing it either. Moreover, among the respondents, 38.84% refused to give any positive or negative opinion of cancel culture, further substantiating our aforementioned claim.

Meanwhile, 24.61% gave somewhat positive opinions, and 23.81% had very positive opinions regarding this practice of cancel culture, which can have varied interpretations.

Canceling the Cancel Culture?

Surprisingly, when asked about their thoughts on improving or reforming cancel culture, 37.73% responded that it should be reformed to include due process and fair treatment of individuals, followed by 24.72% of the respondents stating that it should be rebranded as a different form of social justice, and a minority (16.71%) said it should be banned entirely.

Based on this finding, it’s safe to say that cancel culture is not going anywhere, at least not until social media is here. Despite a lot of people refusing to support it, and demanding its reform, there’s still a portion of the population who holds positive opinions towards this practice and will use it as an imperative tool for social justice.

Fig 3 Improving or reforming cancel culture
Fig 3: Improving or reforming cancel culture

Conclusion: Consequences of Cancel Culture

Lastly, the survey participants were asked about the potential positive and negative consequences of cancel culture. However, the responses lacked clarity, indicating the ambiguity in people’s minds regarding this trend, with the answers almost evenly distributed among all 14 available options.

Among the participants, 17.45% claimed that cancel culture encourages individuals or groups to be more mindful and responsible in their actions and words, while 17.81% believe that it can reinforce a divisive “us vs. them” mentality, where individuals are solely categorized by their views or actions.

Upon analyzing the survey findings, it can be concluded that despite people acknowledging the toxicity cancel culture brings, they know it’s here to stay. However, some participants want to find other effective means of holding someone accountable for their disruptive behavior without canceling them. This is mainly because cancel culture can ultimately damage the mental health of both the cancelers and the canceled.

In summary, the survey highlights the mixed opinions people have about cancel culture, indicating a need for more nuanced discussions on the practice to understand its effects and determine a more effective way of addressing the problem.


Survey TitleSurvey: Public Opinion on Cancel Culture
DurationMarch 12 to March 19, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.