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Thread: Studies indicate Google Et al reflected 'very dramatic bias' in Election

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    Studies indicate Google Et al reflected 'very dramatic bias' in Election

    Could not find the previous Robert Epstein posts/threads (other than his wife being arkancided) I wanted to post a recent WaPo article with


    Fox: Dr. Robert Epstein: Study claims Google reflected 'very dramatic bias' in 2016 election search results
    Google allegedly offered search results during the 2016 election season that manipulated voters in Hillary Clinton's favor, according to researcher Dr. Robert Epstein.

    The study looked into "politically oriented searches" from a "diverse group of American voters," Epstein said in an interview airing Sunday on "Life, Liberty & Levin."

    "In 2016, I set up the first-ever monitoring system that allowed me to look over the shoulders of a diverse group of American voters -- there were 95 people in 24 states," he said.

    "I looked at politically oriented searches that these people were conducting on Google, Bing and Yahoo. I was able to preserve more than 13,000 searches and 98,000 web pages, and I found very dramatic bias in Google's search results... favoring Hillary Clinton -- whom I supported strongly."

    Regarding the specific results of his study, Epstein claimed the findings showed what he called a sizable bias.

    "That level of bias was sufficient, I calculated, to have shifted over time somewhere between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes to Hillary without anyone knowing that this had occurred," he claimed.

    In response, host Mark Levin asked how such bias could materialize.

    Epstein said people searching Google for politically relevant or election-related information will see search suggestions pop up as they type, and also see a number of top searches on the first page of their results. He claimed the alleged bias manifested itself largely within those two areas.

    "We now know that those search suggestions have a very, very powerful effect on people and that they alone can shift opinions and votes dramatically and then search results appear below," he said.

    "The point is if there's a bias in them -- which means if a search result that's high up on the list, if that takes you to a web page that makes one candidate look better than another -- if you're undecided and you're trying to make up your mind, what we've learned is that information posted high in Google search results will shift opinions among undecided people dramatically because people trust Google."
    judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Epstein%20Testimony.pdf
    Why Google Poses a Serious Threat to Democracy, and How to End That Threat
    Testimony by Robert Epstein, Ph.D. (re@aibrt.org)
    Senior Research Psychologist, American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology
    Before the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Tuesday, June 16, 2019, 2:30 p.m...

    I am here today for three reasons: to explain why Google presents a serious threat to democracy and human autonomy, to explain how passive monitoring systems can protect us both now and in the future from companies like Google, and to tell you how Congress can immediately end Google’s worldwide monopoly on search. My plan for ending that monopoly was published just yesterday (Monday, July 15, 2019) by Bloomberg Businessweek (Epstein, 2019d). I am attaching a copy of my article to my testimony and respectfully request that it be entered into the Congressional Record...

    Earlier study by the researcher:

    PNAS: The search engine manipulation effect (SEME) and its possible impact on the outcomes of elections
    Robert Epstein and Ronald E. Robertson
    PNAS August 18, 2015

    Significance

    We present evidence from five experiments in two countries suggesting the power and robustness of the search engine manipulation effect (SEME). Specifically, we show that (i) biased search rankings can shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more, (ii) the shift can be much higher in some demographic groups, and (iii) such rankings can be masked so that people show no awareness of the manipulation. Knowing the proportion of undecided voters in a population who have Internet access, along with the proportion of those voters who can be influenced using SEME, allows one to calculate the win margin below which SEME might be able to determine an election outcome.

    Abstract

    Internet search rankings have a significant impact on consumer choices, mainly because users trust and choose higher-ranked results more than lower-ranked results. Given the apparent power of search rankings, we asked whether they could be manipulated to alter the preferences of undecided voters in democratic elections. Here we report the results of five relevant double-blind, randomized controlled experiments, using a total of 4,556 undecided voters representing diverse demographic characteristics of the voting populations of the United States and India. The fifth experiment is especially notable in that it was conducted with eligible voters throughout India in the midst of India’s 2014 Lok Sabha elections just before the final votes were cast. The results of these experiments demonstrate that (i) biased search rankings can shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more, (ii) the shift can be much higher in some demographic groups, and (iii) search ranking bias can be masked so that people show no awareness of the manipulation. We call this type of influence, which might be applicable to a variety of attitudes and beliefs, the search engine manipulation effect. Given that many elections are won by small margins, our results suggest that a search engine company has the power to influence the results of a substantial number of elections with impunity. The impact of such manipulations would be especially large in countries dominated by a single search engine company.

    Recent research has demonstrated that the rankings of search results provided by search engine companies have a dramatic impact on consumer attitudes, preferences, and behavior ; this is presumably why North American companies now spend more than 20 billion US dollars annually on efforts to place results at the top of rankings. Studies using eye-tracking technology have shown that people generally scan search engine results in the order in which the results appear and then fixate on the results that rank highest, even when lower-ranked results are more relevant to their search. Higher-ranked links also draw more clicks, and consequently people spend more time on Web pages associated with higher-ranked search results. A recent analysis of ∼300 million clicks on one search engine found that 91.5% of those clicks were on the first page of search results, with 32.5% on the first result and 17.6% on the second. The study also reported that the bottom item on the first page of results drew 140% more clicks than the first item on the second page. These phenomena occur apparently because people trust search engine companies to assign higher ranks to the results best suited to their needs, even though users generally have no idea how results get ranked.
    Patriotism seems and feels like terrorism to the fallen feminine

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    Re: Studies indicate Google Et al reflected 'very dramatic bias' in Election

    WaPo: Misinformation dropped dramatically the week after Twitter banned Trump and some allies
    Jan. 16, 2021

    Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, underscoring the power of tech companies to limit the falsehoods poisoning public debate when they act aggressively.

    The new research by the San Francisco-based analytics firm reported that conversations about election fraud dropped from 2.5 million mentions to 688,000 mentions across several social media sites in the week after Trump was banned from Twitter.

    Election disinformation had for months been a major subject of online misinformation, beginning even before the Nov. 3 election and pushed heavily by Trump and his allies.

    Zignal found it dropped swiftly and steeply on Twitter and other platforms in the days after the Twitter ban took hold on Jan. 8.

    The president and his supporters also have lost accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Spotify, Shopify and others. Facebook called Trump’s suspension “indefinite” but left open the possibility that the account could later be restored.

    The findings, from Jan. 9 through Friday, highlight how falsehoods flow across social media sites — reinforcing and amplifying each other — and offer an early indication of how concerted actions against misinformation can make a difference.

    Twitter’s ban of Trump on Jan. 8, after years in which @realDonaldTrump was a potent online megaphone, has been particularly significant in curbing his ability to push misleading claims about what state and federal officials have called a free and fair election on Nov. 3.

    Trump’s banishment was followed by other actions by social media sites, including Twitter’s ban of more than 70,000 accounts affiliated with the baseless QAnon ideology, which played a key role in fomenting the Capitol siege on Jan. 6...

    Zignal found that the use of hashtags affiliated with the Capitol riot also dipped considerably. Mentions of the hashtag #FightforTrump, which was widely deployed across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media services in the week before the rally, dropped 95 percent. #HoldTheLine and the term “March for Trump” also fell more than 95 percent.

    Researchers have found that Trump’s tweets were retweeted by supporters at a remarkable rate, no matter the subject, giving him a virtually unmatched ability to shape conversation online. University of Colorado information science professor Leysia Palen declared in October, after months of research: “Trump’s amplification machine is peerless.”

    “Bottom line is that de-platforming, especially at the scale that occurred last week, rapidly curbs momentum and ability to reach new audiences,” said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which tracks misinformation. “That said, it also has the tendency to harden the views of those already engaged in the spread of that type of false information.

    Disinformation researchers consistently have found that relatively few accounts acted as “superspreaders” during the election, with their tweets and posts generating a disproportionate share of the falsehoods and misleading narratives that spread about election fraud, mail-in ballots and other topics related to the vote...

    A recent report by Advance Democracy — founded by Daniel J. Jones, a former FBI analyst and Senate investigator who led the review of the CIA’s torture program — found that social media sites had “successfully purged” large amounts of content pushing false claims of election fraud. The report also found “incendiary and implicitly violent narratives continue to spread at the peripheries of the social media platforms we are monitoring.”

    This includes using the word “traitors” on Twitter to describe Vice President Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee...
    Patriotism seems and feels like terrorism to the fallen feminine

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