by Robert Epstein, The Gatestone Institute:
- Big Tech companies are deliberately manipulating the outcomes of our elections and the thinking and beliefs of our children. And they are having an enormous impact.
- Consider this: The GOP currently has a slim 10-seat majority in the House of Representatives. Without Google’s interference in 2022, it would likely now have a majority of between 27 and 59 seats.
- If Google had not interfered in the 2022 midterm elections, the GOP would likely have ended up with a Senate majority of up to eight seats.
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- The Big Tech companies that exploded into existence over the past 20 years – as some of their prominent insiders have stated – have undermined our democracy, indoctrinated our children, and increasingly turned our freedom into an illusion.
- The techniques we have discovered – the Search Engine Manipulation Effect, the Answer Bot Effect, the Targeted Messaging Effect, and others – can easily shift the opinions and voting preferences of undecided voters by between 20% and 80% after just one manipulation. Google can also repeat these manipulations many times over a period of months prior to an election.
- Assuming the effects of these techniques are additive, Google can likely produce even larger shifts in opinions and voting preferences than the ones from a single manipulation used just once.
- Google also knows exactly who is vulnerable to these manipulations – who is still undecided before Election Day, for example – so they can target and bombard just the right people on a massive scale 24 hours a day.
- Our research has shown repeatedly that the manipulations used can make them invisible to people, and can often produce shifts of 40% or more in the voting preferences of undecided voters without anyone having the slightest idea they have been manipulated. They feel free, even while they are being strongly controlled. As one journalist wrote, “It really is the perfect crime.”
- Finally, our research measures the influence of “ephemeral experiences” — their term — meaning content that is seen briefly, affects the user, and then disappears forever, leaving no paper trail for authorities to trace, Most online content – search results, newsfeeds, video sequence, and so on – are ephemeral.
- Can Google deliberately use ephemeral content to manipulate people? You bet. If you doubt that, read this 2018 article from the Wall Street Journal about some leaked emails from the company.
- In the days leading up to the 2022 midterms, the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology… preserved overwhelming evidence of Google’s manipulations on their search engine, on their video recommendations on YouTube (owned by Google), and even on their homepage on Election Day. On that day in Florida, for example, 100% of liberals received go-vote reminders on their version of Google’s homepage, but only 59% of conservatives did.
- If, in 2024, 158 million people cast ballots, as they did in 2020, it means Google could likely shift the votes of between 6.4 and 25.5 million people, thereby easily controlling the outcome of any election in which the projected win margin is less than 4%. No laws or regulations are in place to stop them, but our monitoring can. We are monitoring their systems and doing to them what they do to us. When the Big Tech companies know that their manipulations are being watched, they back off. It has already worked to completely shut down manipulations in one important election.
- On November 5, 2020, three U.S. Senators sent a strong warning letter to the CEO of Google expressing concern about the extreme political bias our monitoring system had detected in the days leading up to the presidential election – bias sufficient to have shifted at least 6 million votes to Joe Biden.
- As a result, Google immediately shut down its election manipulations in the two upcoming Senate runoff elections in Georgia…. Go-vote reminders ceased, and so did bias in Google search results.
- In other words, monitoring, combined with political pressure from our leaders and our public, can and will force Google and other tech companies to stay clear of our elections and our children. It will also give legislators, regulators, and litigants the ammunition they need to challenge both the company and its executives in court.
- Yes, they do mess with us. As explained in “How Google Stopped the Red Wave,” whenever you see online content screaming about Democrats who have perpetrated widespread ballot harvesting or ballot box stuffing, you are being manipulated by Google-and-the-Gang. It is their algorithms – controlled very precisely by their employees – that decide what content goes viral and what content is suppressed… because Google-and-the-Gang want them to. Why? So you will not look at them – at the tech companies themselves.
- The problem is: unless we can find additional major funding soon, we will have to start scaling down our effort in August and may have to shut it down completely soon after.
- If this type of election interference continues unmonitored and unchallenged, could the GOP itself – and ultimately all of American democracy – become ephemeral experiences?