Google Could Rig Political Elections with Its Search Engine Algorithm

By Anthony Massey on Dec 23, 2015 05:04 PM EST

We've all heard one complaints of how the media is biased in one direction or another, but what many of us aren't aware of is the very news we seek to keep ourselves informed is slanted various directions simply based on search engine sorting (the algorithm.) The effect is larger than you think. 

In recent studies done over the course of several years, covering India, America, and Australia, it was demonstrated that search engine results can sway the results of an election significantly. 

According to The Week, "Manipulating search engine results can sway undecided voters by 20 percent or more, according to a study from Robert Epstein and Ronald E. Roberston at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology."

And considering how hotly contested the presidential primaries have been this year, especially on the Republican side, that could be a huge boost (or loss) for a particular candidate. In other words, the way Google ranks/displays articles could affect the outcome of a national election.

And in presidential elections, where the popular vote is usually fairly close, Google could have an enormous impact on the fate of America. This is an enormous responsibility, especially considering the average person doesn't know exactly how these algorithms (involving a LOT of math) will work.

In one experiment performed by Epstein and Robertson on voters in Australia "Whichever side people saw the positive results for, they were more likely to vote for-by more than 48 percent."

And in the words of Epstein himself, "Google's search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more-up to 80 percent in some demographic groups-with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated, according to experiments I conducted recently with Ronald E. Robertson."

Considering this influence, perhaps it isn't unreasonable to be concerned about the future of politics, especially when we don't know is actually influencing our information flow.

So what do you think about Google's search algorithm affecting politics? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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