A few days ago a highly qualified Democrat-supporting psychology professor testified to Congress on how Google and the rest of the big tech platforms are able, uncontested, to shift between 2 and 12 million undecided voteers to vote Democrat in 2020, if they are not restrained from manipulating searches and from using other strategies to subliminally influence voter opinions.
This paper is garbage and the author doesn’t provide much supporting evidence. For one, the author states that fake news stories are not a big problem. So in effect, if the truth is biased towards supporting the democratic agenda, Google should still make it seem like as if it’s a 50/50 scenario with the positions of both sides having equal merit. This is absurd. Google should be biased towards objective truth.
Well no, if they are going to make editorial decisions about what is and isn’t the truth, they are publishers, not mere conduits of information and should consequently bear the same liabilities journalists and other media outlets face for printing untrue, malicious or slanderous information. And while fake news may be problematic, it is 100% protected by the constitution when it comes to things like prior restraint.
And the author of the paper and the article has pretty impressive credentials so I am going to take his expert opinion on the validity of his methods and peer reviewed study over yours. Why are you a science denier?
And as far as Russian fake news stories being a big problem, he meant in terms of actual votes changed, and he’s right.
Democrats love all this right now and will no doubt continue to defend it, up until companies like Google decide maybe getting democrats elected is no longer in their best interests and start favoring another party.
All sides don’t have equal merit. Media sites are under no obligation to give both sides equal treatment if one side is using a narrative that is objectively false. It’s not surprising that Republicans don’t believe in objective truth in the age of Trumpism.
You’re going to take the opinion of the author as truth because it fits what you want to believe, it’s not like republicans listen to scientists when it comes to things like climate change.
The author has a long history of attacking media companies for trying to suppress fake news. So you’re basically championing someone who thinks that Google should help spread false information.
Google does have a lot of power and it’s right to scrutinize their use of that power, but to suggest that Google should help spread false information is idiotic.
As we can plainly see in this discussion we are having, not everyone agrees on what the truth is. When google enters the territory of deciding what is and isn’t true, they have entered the world of publishing and should be treated the same and held to the same standards other publishers are.
It’s impossible to create a search engine that doesn’t have some sort of bias. In order for the search engine to even give relevant results to what people are looking for, the search engine must have some way to discerning quality information from spam and malicious sites.
Why would a conservative think that Google, a private company, that offers a service that you do not have to use… should give spam, malicious sites, and propaganda outlets the same search rankings as more reliable information? How would that be good for Google’s business model or the general public?
When I clicked on one of the first links in that testimony…to his “analysis” that the simple 2018 “Go Vote” logo reminder subtly shifted millions of votes to Democrats, wherein Epstein said that MAYBE Google didn’t show the reminder to Republican-leaning users and showed how if MAYBE they did so, no one would have noticed, and then posted that 90-94% of Google employees lean liberal, and that Google, the “best numbers-crunching business in the world” was easily capable of the same analysis he was…I realized upon whom he was using his psychological training.
AIBRTAmerican Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology
Why Google Poses a Serious Threat to Democracy,
and How to End That Threat
Robert Epstein, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Senior Research Psychologist, American Institute for Behavioral Research and
Before the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution
Tuesday, June 16, 2019, 2:30 p.m.
I am Dr. Robert Epstein, the proud father of five children, a resident of California, and
Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and
Technology. I love America and democracy, and I am also not a conservative. I have been
center/center-left my whole adult life. You’ll see in moment why this fact is relevant to my
I am here today for three reasons: to explain why Google presents a serious threat to
democracy and human autonomy, to explain how passive monitoring systems can protect
us both now and in the future from companies like Google, and to tell you how Congress
can immediately end Google’s worldwide monopoly on search. My plan for ending that
monopoly was published just yesterday (Monday, July 15, 2019) by Bloomberg
Businessweek (Epstein, 2019d). I am attaching a copy of my article to my testimony and
respectfully request that it be entered into the Congressional Record.
I have been a research psychologist for nearly 40 years and have also served in various
editorial positions at Psychology Today magazine and Scientific American MIND. I
received my Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1981 and have since published 15 books and
more than 300 scientific and mainstream articles on artificial intelligence and other topics.
Since 2012, some of my research and writings have focused on Google LLC, specifically
on the company’s power to suppress content – the censorship problem, if you will – as well
as on the massive surveillance the company conducts, and also on the company’s
unprecedented ability to manipulate the thoughts and behavior of more than 2.5 billion
Data I’ve collected since 2016 show that Google displays content to the American public
that is biased in favor on one political party (Epstein & Williams, 2019) – a party I happen
to like, but that’s irrelevant. No private company should have either the right or the power
to manipulate large populations without their knowledge.
I’ve published articles about my research on Google in both scientific publications and a
wide array of mainstream news sources: in TIME magazine, U.S. News & World Report,
USA Today, Dissent, The Hill, and Huffington Post, for example, but also in The Daily
Caller and even in Russia’s Sputnik News."
"If you were to examine the data I have been collecting over the past 6-and-a-half years,
every one of you would put partisanship aside and collaborate to reign in the extraordinary
power that Google and Facebook now wield with unabashed arrogance.
Here are five disturbing findings from my research, which adheres, I believe, to the highest
possible scientific standards in all respects:
In 2016, biased search results generated by Google’s search algorithm likely
impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary
Clinton (whom I supported). I know this because I preserved more than 13,000
election-related searches conducted by a diverse group of Americans on Google,
Bing, and Yahoo in the weeks leading up to the election, and Google search results
– which dominate search in the U.S. and worldwide – were significantly biased in
favor of Secretary Clinton in all 10 positions on the first page of search results in
both blue states and red states.
I know the number of votes that shifted because I have conducted dozens of
controlled experiments in the U.S. and other countries that measure precisely how
opinions and votes shift when search results favor one candidate, cause, or
company. I call this shift “SEME” – the Search Engine Manipulation Effect. My
first scientific paper on SEME was published in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in 2015 (https://is.gd/p0li8V) (Epstein & Robertson,
2015a) and has since been accessed or downloaded from PNAS’s website more
than 200,000 times. SEME has also been replicated by a research team at one of
the Max Planck Institutes in Germany.
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 people
– “subliminal,” 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 doesn’t
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 more – up
to 80 percent in some demographic groups.
Bear in mind here that all Google search results are, in a sense, biased. There are
no equal-time rules built into Google algorithm. It always puts one widget ahead of
another – and one candidate ahead of another.
SEME is an example of an “ephemeral experience,” and that’s a phrase you’ll find
in internal emails that have leaked from Google recently. A growing body of
evidence suggests that Google employees deliberately engineer ephemeral
experiences to change people’s thinking. (For details about the methodology used
in SEME experiments, please see the Appendix at the end of this testimony.)
Since 2013, I have discovered about a dozen subliminal effects like SEME, and I
am currently studying and quantifying seven of them (https://is.gd/DbIhZw)
I’m sort of split on this. On the one hand, I don’t like the government in charge of what sort of information is made available by private parties.
On the other hand, if we are going to have the government be concerned with how companies can use their money to influence voters in elections, it doesn’t make much sense to say they can use all their money and power to influence us this way (whatever “this way” turns out to be)
Perhaps some middle “truth in advertising” ground can be reached to insist that they let us know exactly what they are doing.
"2. On Election Day in 2018, the “Go Vote” reminder Google displayed on its home
page gave one political party between 800,000 and 4.6 million more votes than it
gave the other party. Those numbers might seem impossible, but I published my
analysis in January 2019 (https://is.gd/WCdslm) (Epstein, 2019a), and it is quite
conservative. Google’s data analysts presumably performed the same calculations
I did before the company decided to post its prompt. In other words, Google’s “Go
Vote” prompt was not a public service; it was a vote manipulation.
3. In the weeks leading up to the 2018 election, bias in Google’s search results may
have shifted upwards of 78.2 million votes to the candidates of one political party
(spread across hundreds of local and regional races). This number is based on data
captured by my 2018 monitoring system, which preserved more than 47,000
election-related searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, along with the nearly
400,000 web pages to which the search results linked. Strong political bias toward
one party was evident, once again, in Google searches (Epstein & Williams, 2019).
4. My recent research demonstrates that Google’s “autocomplete” search suggestions
can turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split without people’s
awareness (http://bit.ly/2EcYnYI) (Epstein, Mohr, & Martinez, 2018). A growing
body of evidence suggests that Google is manipulating people’s thinking and
behavior from the very first character people type into the search box.
5. Google has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the
national elections worldwide since at least 2015. This is because many races are
very close and because Google’s persuasive technologies are very powerful
(Epstein & Robertson, 2015a).
These effects are nothing like Russian-placed ads or fake news stories. Russian
interference, although troubling and unacceptable, does not, in my opinion, shift many
votes (Epstein, 2017d, 2018a). Ads and news stories are competitive and visible, like
billboards. The kinds of ephemeral effects I am studying, however, are invisible and non-
competitive. They are controlled entirely by Big Tech companies, and there is no way to
I have also studied and written about Google’s massive surveillance operations – most of
which people are completely unaware of – and Google’s pervasive and unpredictable
pattern of censorship, but time does not not permit me to discuss my work in these areas
today. On the issue of censorship, I refer the Committee Members to a 2016 report I
published in U.S. News & World Report called “The New Censorship”
(http://bit.ly/28PgBmW) (Epstein, 2016d), which described nine different blacklists
Google maintains to suppress information worldwide. We are all aware that Google deletes
or blocks access to videos on YouTube, which it owns, but few people are aware that
Google blocks access to millions of websites. On January 31, 2009, Google blocked access
to virtually the entire internet for 40 minutes.
By the way, it is not just conservative content that gets censored (Epstein, 2018h). At times,
Google also censors progressive and socialist content. The problem with Google is not that
it censors conservatives; the problem is that it has the power to determine what content
billions of people worldwide will or not see. No single entity – especially a private
company that is not accountable to the public – should have such power (Epstein, 2016d).
How did you think repeating verbatim what Epstein said was in any ways a rebuttal?
He has no proof Google did anything of the sort. In fact he said right from the beginning he doesn’t have the wherewithal to find that proof (at least he has an inkling of an understanding of what’s required).
He simply makes unsupported suppositions and juxtaposition to paint a picture in the minds of his audience.
That’s why I said he was using his training…just not how you think he was.