Saturday, June 22, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Robert Epsteins “digital shield” shows how tech giants manipulate voters

Published 6 December 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Dr. Robert Epstein's new website will hold tech companies accountable to the public.

American psychology researcher Dr. Robert Epstein has launched the Americas Digital Shield website, which will monitor and visualize in real time how tech giants such as Google and Microsoft are manipulating content to influence votes in next year’s presidential election.

Dr. Epstein previously investigated how US tech giants influenced the 2020 US election, showing that Google, among others, manipulated search results to help the Democrats win. This was done by promoting pro-Democratic content in search results and social media feeds and encouraging only Democratic supporters to vote.

Now, the Harvard-trained psychologist is releasing a dashboard that monitors and illustrates in real time how Google, Bing and Yahoo manipulate online content to influence votes. According to Dr. Epstein, the findings raise deep concerns about the integrity of the democratic process.

– If we don’t stop them, Google alone will be able to shift between 6.4 and 25.5 million votes in the 2024 Presidential election, Dr. Epstein said in a press release.

Dr. Epstein’s findings are based on a monitoring system that his research team has been developing since 2016. It tracks so-called “ephemeral experiences”, or short-lived online content – content that can change people’s perceptions and behaviors before disappearing without a trace.

Such content includes search results, news feeds, video recommendations, and other ephemeral online content that would normally disappear forever, but is now preserved, archived, analyzed and visualized by the “digital shield” Epstein and his team have created.

“Big Tech companies accountable”

According to Dr. Epstein, these manipulations are powerful enough to change a voter’s voting preferences 80% of the time after just one exposure, with the potential to affect millions of votes. The monitoring system is the first of its kind, collecting real data around the clock from a politically balanced group of tens of thousands of registered voters in all 50 U.S. states.

To date, the sophisticated technology behind America’s Digital Shield has captured more than 64 million ephemeral experiences – content that would otherwise be lost forever.

This system is how – for the first time ever – we have finally made the Big Tech companies accountable to the public, said Dr. Epstein. We know from a smaller system we set up in 2020 that when these companies know they’re being monitored, they back down.

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