May 13, 2014

Election Search Results

Could Google swing an election?

The newest threat to fair elections may be the search engine you use. According to a study released by the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, search engines, how they rank websites, can sway elections by as much as 12%. The study asked 2,000 undecided voters in the Indian presidential election to use a fake search engine to learn about the candidates, but the search results favored one candidate. Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the institute, explained the seriousness: “If two candidates were both trying to push their rankings higher, they would be competing, and that’s fine. But if Google, which has a monopoly on search in India, were to favor one candidate, it could easily put that candidate in office by manipulating search rankings, and no one could counter what they were doing.” It’s a word of warning to enter election season learning as much about the candidates as you can, beyond the headlines and first results in a search engine. More…

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