Pollsters aware that Google could fix the 2016 election’

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A senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, Robert Epstein along with his colleague Ronald E. Robertson of late carried out an experiment in which they came up with the conclusion that Google has the potential to fix the 2016 presidential election. They named it as Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME).

Among five experiments carried across two countries, they manipulated that inclined standings in search results has the ability to alter the judgments of unsure voters by 20% or even more, in demographic groups it may reach to a rate of 80%. Given that Google nips its algorithm in order to present more affirmative search results for a candidate, the searcher opinions would probably formulate a more constructive view about that candidate, as guessed by researchers.

Keeping in view the fact that usually presidential election are won just by petite margins, Epstein confirms the theory that influenced Google search rankings could potentially fix on the upshot of an election.

The researcher said in an op-ed, he wrote for Politico that this kind of authority in the hands of one organization is precarious, according to him:

“Because SEME is virtually invisible as a form of social influence, because the effect is so large and because there are currently no specific regulations anywhere in the world that would prevent Google from using and abusing this technique, we believe SEME is a serious threat to the democratic system of government.”

In response to this research Google stated as follows:

“Providing relevant answers has been the cornerstone of Google’s approach to search from the very beginning. It would undermine the people’s trust in our results and company if we were to change course.”

Formerly, in the start of this year, the European Commission officially indicted Google of using its principal market share in web search to diverge users’ attention away from rival products and services and attract towards its own.

 

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Samuli Mäkelä

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