Dr. Robert Epstein, a senior psychologist with the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, carried out an election monitoring project for the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.
Epstein says his research shows Google mobilized its search engine algorithms to the advantage of Democrats during the U.S. 2020 general elections as well as in previous years — running counter to the nonpartisan stance implicitly expected of Google and other social media platforms.
In an interview with Jan Jekielek on The Epoch Times’ American Thought Leaders program that was aired Nov. 12, the psychologist described the concerning power he says Google and other tech giants have to sway elections.
He had first set up systems to monitor elections since 2016 in order to determine Big Tech’s influence on public opinion, using hired field agents to collect data. For the 2016 election, Epstein had hired 95 people, equipped with software that logged their activity when interacting with election-related information online. This included queries conducted on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
For the 2016 project, Epstein was able to preserve 13,000 “ephemeral experiences.” These are experiences that people have online that involve fleeting content, meaning that the content appears, impacts us, and disappears just as quick. Epstein pointed out that several leaks have confirmed that Google uses such ephemeral experiences to influence the way people think and behave.
For the 2020 project, Epstein hired 733 field agents, that too in three key battleground states — Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona. The psychologist believed that these would be the states to see significant manipulation. The results matched his hypothesis.
Epstein found that during the week starting Oct. 26, only his liberal-leaning field agents received vote reminders from Google. He immediately went public with the information, sharing it with a reporter from the New York Post. However, the Post pulled the piece, a decision Epstein believes could be motivated by the fact that the right-leaning publication gets 32 percent of its traffic via Google and was therefore at its mercy.
Moreover, after releasing his findings, signs of bias seemed to pause, as though Google had put it on hold, Epstein said. Conservative-leaning field agents started receiving vote reminders, suggesting that Epstein’s research had a tremendous effect on the company’s activity.
“If the targeted messaging and the search results bias were both being used for several months before the election, that would have shifted at least 6 million votes in one direction… Google search results were strongly biased in favor of liberals and Democrats…,” Epstein said on Fox’s Tonight program hosted by Tucker Carlson.
“This was not true on Bing or Yahoo,” he observed. “The bias was shown to pretty much every demographic group we looked at, including conservatives. In fact, conservatives got slightly more liberal bias in their search results than liberals did.”
Interestingly, 6 million votes is almost close to the margin of the election result. According to the initial count, of the 150 million people who voted, Biden received 80 million votes while Trump received 7 million fewer votes at 73 million. The final results are still being legally challenged in some states.
Citing Epstein’s work, senators Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, and Mike Lee sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking for an explanation as to Google’s conduct during the election. The letter stated that Dr. Epstein would be summoned to bear witness before Congress and present evidence of Google’s politically biased activity. It also demanded the company to come clean on the issue. Pichai has apparently not responded to the letter.
For his research on the 2020 elections, Epstein said he collected more than half a million ephemeral experiences.
“Dr. Epstein’s allegations appear credible and are very concerning. If it is true that Google is targeting messages to help Democrats win elections, then Google has not been truthful to Congress and has deceived countless Americans. These allegations must be taken seriously. Congress must have all the facts and evidence from Dr. Epstein with responses from Google as we consider changes to address these serious issues,” U.S. senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) said in a Nov. 5 statement.
Big Tech control
In addition to Google, Epstein also tracked Facebook homepages, looking at the different kinds of messages that the platform was sending to its users. Since the Facebook homepage is quite complex, it will take some time for Epstein and his team to comb through the data. Thousands of YouTube sequences have also been preserved. Once the data is analyzed, it is predicted that Epstein will find proof of election manipulation by Facebook and YouTube as well.
The psychologist notes that back in 2018, the CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, appeared in a video telling her staff that they will not be letting fake news reach YouTube users. Epstein notes that what YouTube is essentially doing through such a policy is to push up content that they believe is “valid” while demoting content that they presume is “invalid.” This is plainly a deliberate attempt by YouTube to censor specific information.
Epstein warns that companies like Google should not be in control of the election outcome. He admits that though he follows a leftist ideology, he is not at all happy with how the tech companies are trying to manipulate elections. Unlike elected officials, these firms are not accountable to the public. Their activities and agendas are intransparent.
“Google has more power than any company on the face of the planet, and Dr. Epstein’s findings raise serious concerns about Google’s abuse of that power and its willingness to manipulate its platform to help Joe Biden win the presidency. Google must provide answers as to why and how it manipulated users to influence this election,” Senator Ted Cruz said in a statement.
Epstein brings attention to a leaked Google video from 2018 called the “selfish ledger” that talks about the company’s power to re-engineer humanity. The video uses the phrase “company values,” indicating that Google wants to basically mold people to conform to this set of values — though naturally without advertising this fact.
The findings of Epstein’s research regarding Google vote reminders could be just one such aspect of this goal. By having complete control over what people read and watch online, such mind-engineering projects can actually produce tangible results.
Epstein warned that if governments continue allowing companies like Google to control the elections, we will no longer have a democracy and with it, no rule of law. All such ideals will be rendered illusory while real control will fall to technology magnates and their political backers.
“To me, that is unacceptable. Even if they’re supporting candidates and causes that I like, that is unacceptable. In my opinion, that should be unacceptable to all Americans, no matter what your party is. My Democratic friends and family, if you’re out there listening, and you don’t like what I’m saying, then shame on you,” Epstein said
By Deepak Rangan