Aug 31, 2015

Google Could 'Rig the 2016 Election,' using Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME).

Fortune [feedly] Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, and colleague Ronald E. Robertson recently conducted an experiment in which they conclude that Google  GOOG -1.12%  has the power to rig the 2016 presidential election. They call it the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME).

Through five experiments in two countries, they found that biased rankings in search results can shift the opinions of undecided voters by 20% or more, sometimes even reaching as high as 80% in some demographic groups. If Google tweaks its algorithm to show more positive search results for a candidate, the researchers say, the searcher may form a more positive opinion of him or her.

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