Skip to comments.Google’s Algorithms Threaten Free and Fair Elections
Posted on 07/28/2019 7:52:03 PM PDT by DeweyCA
Last week, mostly lost in the news cycle of Trump versus the squad and the anticipation of the Mueller hearings, was the testimony of Dr. Robert Epstein in front of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution regarding the power of Google to manipulate elections. Epstein, a Harvard Ph.D. in psychology and behavioral sciences, is a Democrat who voted for Clinton in 2016. Yet what he testified to should be troubling to every American who is concerned about election integrity and the threats of manipulation by powers both foreign and domestic.
Epstein testified, based on 13,000 saved search results of American citizens and dozens of controlled experiments in the United States and abroad, that the power of the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) generated by Googles search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Epstein explained:
SEME is one of the most powerful forms of influence ever discovered in the behavioral sciences, and it is especially dangerous because it is invisible to peoplesubliminal, in effect. It leaves people thinking they have made up their own minds, which is very much an illusion. It also leaves no paper trail for authorities to trace. Worse still, the very few people who can detect bias in search results shift even farther in the direction of the bias, so merely being able to see the bias doesnt protect you from it. Bottom line: biased search results can easily produce shifts in the opinions and voting preference of undecided voters by 20 percent or moreup to 80 percent in some demographic groups.
In January 2013, while sitting at Googles political innovation summit in New York City, it became very clear to me that Google would have the power to influence and affect the outcomes of national elections. According to Epstein, Google has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide since at least 2015.
But it becomes even more troubling when Epstein discussed the potential impact that Google, combined with Facebook and Twitter, could have on the election outcomes in 2020. Big Tech in 2020, because if these companies all support the same candidateand thats likely, needless to saythey will be able to shift upwards of 15 million votes to that candidate with no one knowing and without leaving a paper trail, Epstein said.
After six years of studying Google, Epsteins solution for breaking up Googles SEME is to make its index public, to make it into a sort of public commons to engender greater competition. I have argued that these tech companies must have their Section 230 exemptions removed and be redefined as publishers and telecommunications companies. And we have antitrust laws for a reason. The federal government has a role in breaking up what are, in fact, monopolies.
Whatever the solution may beand I suspect it is a combination of all of the aboveits time to get aggressive. Addressing the power of the tech companies is a winning issue with Americans across the ideological spectrum. We can hope more of our elected officials will follow the lead of Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) and find the courage to rise to the occasion. Because to sit and dither, to listen to the various tech collaborators on the right mumbling about free market solutions, is to ensure the demise of our democratic constitutional republic.
it was troubling, I saw it... The guy voted for Hillary Clinton and is a Democrat..but he says it could go both ways.
the most important story in recent weeks, yet where is the coverage by the FakeNewsMSM???? nowhere.
that is why it’s important for non-FakeNewsMSM websites to keep reporting this, and refreshing the story by getting politicians to respond etc.
People take in information.
Then they vote.
Anyone who says that’s wrong is anti-American and an enemy of the people.
NO CENSORSHIP. NO GOVERNMENT CONTROL.
...the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME)
AL Gore has a history of trying to steal elections.
Russophobia neocons have got no problem with it.
Actions must be taken to fight against Russia meddling.
Nobody but leftists go to Google. Yahoo. Facebook or any other nonsense for news
Savvy people visit multiple independent sites
Of course all one needs is FREEREPUBLIC ! Thank you Jim !
I was at a Google “employee only, programming staff only” meeting about ten years ago — they started the meeting by making sure there were no outsiders. They missed me.
It was the CTO instructing everyone what they wanted the search algorithms to accomplish. They didn’t get in to political manipulation, or any particulars at all — they mostly explained that the algorithm should keep people searching. They blatantly said that you should lie, withhold, manipulate, fabricate, exclude, etc., but don’t give the searcher what they are looking for. It was the most amazingly explicit instruction to disrespect and dehumanize people I have ever seen or heard.
Google isn’t just dead to me, it is, along with Facebook, an evil enemy, who will receive no quarters when the day comes.
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