How much power does internet search engine giant Google have to influence American elections? Research suggests that the company has more sway at the ballot box than many realize.
On Sunday night's episode of Life, Liberty & Levin, LevinTV host Mark Levin sat down with Dr. Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, to discuss the tech giant's bias and potential to affect election outcomes.
Back in 2015, Epstein wrote that Google had the ability to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election: "The employees who constantly adjust the search giant’s algorithms are manipulating people every minute of every day. The adjustments they make increasingly influence our thinking—including, it turns out, our voting preferences."
Research cited in the same article "leaves little doubt about whether Google has the ability to control voters," Epstein wrote.
Epstein — who described himself as left-leaning — explained to Levin Sunday, "If Google's search results, for any reason, are biased to favor one candidate or one party, for any reason, that will shift opinions about that candidate, and that will shift a lot of votes."
"And in fact, it can shift millions of votes," Epstein continued. "Doesn't matter whether an employee or an executive at Google did this deliberately, the algorithm alone — a computer program — could be doing this, and it will still affect the outcome of elections."
The researcher explained that in 2016 he set up a monitoring system that allowed him to "look over the shoulders of a diverse group of American voters" as they searched the internet using Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
He says that he found "very dramatic bias in Google's search results — not Bing or Yahoo, just Google's — favoring Hillary Clinton." Epstein then calculated that the level of bias from Google's search was enough to shift between 2.6 million and 10.4 million votes to Clinton "without anyone knowing that this had occurred."
This is because, Epstein found, that things like search suggestions and the biased placement of certain search results higher on the list than others "will shift opinions among undecided people dramatically, because people trust Google and they especially trust high-ranking search results."
Epstein's research was not able to determine specifically what caused the bias. However, he did call the idea that the bias results were completely organically generated from user activity "nonsense," because "Google actually has total control over what users see."
In 2018, Epstein and his research team turned their focus to three districts in Southern California. All three areas flipped from Republican to Democrat, and Epstein's team found "substantial bias — liberal bias — in the Google search engine, but not Bing or Yahoo."
"That level of bias easily — very easily — could account for the win margins that occurred in each of those districts," Epstein explained. "And even more problematic here: If that level of bias had been present in Google nationwide for all the races, "that would have shifted to Democrats upwards of 78.2 million votes. Now, that's spread across many races."
The allegations of rampant left-wing bias at Google aren't at all hard to find. Recently, a former Google employee went public with documents showing that the company's algorithms were indeed stacked against conservatives. A 2018 study found that 90 percent of political donations from Google and subsidiaries of parent company Alphabet have gone to Democrats. Despite giving almost $200,000 to 2020 Democrats in 2019's second quarter, not a single Google employee gave a penny to President Trump's re-election in the same time.
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