Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Research: Google Search Manipulation Can Swing Nearly 80 Percent of Undecided Voters - Breitbart News

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http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/04/24/exclusive-research-google-search-manipulation-can-swing-nearly-80-percent-undecided-voters/

EXCLUSIVE — Research: Google Search Manipulation Can Swing Nearly 80 Percent of Undecided Voters






By inserting negative search suggestions under the name of a candidate, search engines like Google can shift the opinions of undecided voters by up to 43.4 percent, according to newresearch by a team at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology and reported exclusively by Breitbart News.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Epstein, has previously conducted research into what he calls the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME). This research showed that 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.

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From the study:
The voting preferences of participants who saw no search suggestions shifted toward the favored candidate by 37.1%. The voting preferences of participants in the search suggestion groups who saw only positive search suggestions shifted similarly (35.6%). However, the voting preferences of participants who saw three positive search suggestions and one negative search suggestion barely shifted (1.8%); this occurred because the negative search suggestion attracted more than 40% 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%).
The researchers conclude that by using this method of manipulation, search engines can 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.”
The conclusions are based on 16 months of experiments conducted with a total of 1,800 people from all 50 U.S. states. Participants in the study came from diverse ideological backgrounds, including liberal, conservative, and moderate. In order to control prior biases, participants were asked to judge political candidates that they were unfamiliar with.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to allumbokhari@protonmail.com.