Search engine results have power to swing votes, study says

Researcher says Google ‘could easily put that candidate in office by manipulating search rankings’ By Marisa Taylor, Al Jazeera –  We’re already aware that Google knows everything about us, but it may also have the ability to influence who we vote for, according to new research released Monday. A psychologist who wanted to examine how ranking order in search engine results was able to influence the opinions of undecided voters in India’s recent national elections found that — perhaps not surprisingly — the order played a large role in swaying their votes. And what’s more, the majority of the voters didn’t realize it was going on. Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the California-based American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, a non-profit research group, recruited more than 2,000 undecided voters between the ages of 18 and 70 from 26 of India’s 28 states. The voters were allotted 15 minutes to read search engine...

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