Skip to Content

How Google is able to heavily influence political choices

Search engines like Google can shift political opinions of undecided voters quite easily, research into the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) shows.

Published: April 26, 2018, 9:04 am

    Read more

    By inserting negative search suggestions under the name of a candidate, up to 43.4 percent of voters were swayed. Some 16 months of experiments were conducted with a total of 1800 people from all 50 US states.

    According to new research by a team at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, Breitbart News reported how the manipulation of results pages in search engines can shift the voting preferences of undecideds by anywhere between 20 and 80 percent.

    Depending on the demographic, the lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Epstein, lokked at how search engines can affect voters by suggesting negative or positive search terms next to a political candidate’s name.

    Epstein’s research found that negative search terms had a dramatic effect on voter opinion:

    The voting preferences of participants who saw no search suggestions shifted toward the favored candidate by 37.1 percent. The voting preferences of participants in the search suggestion groups who saw only positive search suggestions shifted similarly (35.6 percent). However, the voting preferences of participants who saw three positive search suggestions and one negative search suggestion barely shifted (1.8 percent); this occurred because the negative search suggestion attracted more than 40 percent of the clicks (negativity bias). In other words, a single negative search suggestion can impact opinions dramatically. Participants who were shown four negative suggestions (and no positives) shifted away from the candidate shown in the search bar (-43.4 percent).

    Manipulating adjectives associated with a candidate’s name, meant search engines could shift a “50/50 split split among people who are undecided on an issue to a 90/10 split without people’s awareness and without leaving a paper trail for authorities to follow”.

    Participants in the study came from various ideological backgrounds, including from liberal as well as conservative camps. In order therefore to control for political biases, participants were asked to judge political candidates that they were unfamiliar with.

    The researchers have found a recurring pattern of major brands being top-listed in Google search suggestions when financially linked to Google. The top search suggestions for “a” is Amazon – Google’s top client on Google Adwords, and the top search suggestion for “t” is Target – Google’s third-biggest advertising client.

    In Google’s current search suggestions, entering “G” into the search bar will instantly provide users with suggestions about other Google products – Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, etc.

    During the 2016 election, Google had allegedly suppressed negative search suggestions for Hillary Clinton while allowing negative suggestions for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders to remain.

     

     

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Americas

    ISIS cyber attacks were falsely blamed on Russia

    An Islamic State-linked media outlet says a Canadian man - not Russia - was behind the terror group’s highest-profile cyber attacks, including the takeover of the Twitter account of the US military’s Central Command.

    Media reporting rigged against Republicans, Trump

    Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections in the United States, the mainstream media were directing their campaign reporting against Republicans.

    Trump is serious about troop deployment on US-Mexican border

    The number of US troops to be deployed at the Mexico border could reach 15 000, President Trump said on Wednesday afternoon.

    Trump tells migrant caravan to turn back, US military is being deployed

    WashingtonOn Monday, President Trump warned the illegal caravan approaching the US border from the south that the US military was waiting for them.

    Khashoggi was not the first casualty of Saudi regime

    WashingtonJamal Khashoggi was not the first victim of the Saudi regime allegedly hunted down and murdered. And President Donald Trump and his family, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, have meanwhile been supporting Saudi Arabia’s bizarre explanation for the murder of Washington-based Saudi journalist Khashoggi.

    New report highlights Pentagon’s cyber flaws

    WashingtonA US federal report has revealed glaring cyber vulnerabilities in US weapons systems. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report also found that defense officials believed the security measures were able to defeat hackers, even though outside teams were easily able to penetrate systems.

    US Democrats likely received fake bombs

    According to a law enforcement official, examiners are looking at whether the mail bombs sent to US Democrats over the last 48 hours were "hoax devices". What looked like bombs seen on television, may have been fakes.

    Second caravan of illegals heading for US border

    According to reports, there is now a second migrant caravan heading for the US of around 1000 people. They crossed from Honduras into Guatemala on Sunday night. The first wave comprises between 10 000 and 14 000 migrants, and includes notorious MS-13 gang members.

    Trump on migrants: ‘We don’t want them’

    US President Donald Trump told a defense round-table in Arizona that he would not allow the caravan of migrants from Honduras into the United States, because there are hardened criminals in the group.

    Twitter gives left-extremists calling for murder and violence a platform

    American left-wing groups are openly discussing mass executions and planned murders of prominent conservatives, and they’re using Twitter to communicate their plans.

    Go to archive