On Politico, Robert Epstein argues Google has "amassed far more power" to control "a wide variety of opinions and beliefs" by using a subtle form of social influence through its search engine. Reportedly, this form of subtle manipulation could be used to change the outcome of elections and be considered "a serious threat to the democratic system of government."
Given that many elections are won by small margins, this gives Google the power, right now, to flip upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide. In the United States, half of our presidential elections have been won by margins under 7.6 percent, and the 2012 election was won by a margin of only 3.9 percent—well within Google’s control.
There are at least three very real scenarios whereby Google—perhaps even without its leaders’ knowledge—could shape or even decide the election next year. Whether or not Google executives see it this way, the employees who constantly adjust the search giant’s algorithms are manipulating people every minute of every day. The adjustments they make increasingly influence our thinking—including, it turns out, our voting preferences.
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