If big tech companies all support the same presidential candidate in the 2020 election, they can shift 15 million votes without leaving any evidence they have done so, according to psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein.
In his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 16, the professor and open Hillary Clinton supporter warned Texas Sen. Ted Cruz about big tech companies’ “invisible” and “subliminal” power to meddle in elections.
Cruz began his questioning by asking Epstein about the testimony the senior research psychologist had submitted to the committee: “Google is, through biased search results, manipulating voters in a way they are not aware of?”
“On a massive scale,” Epstein replied. “What I’m saying is that I believe in democracy, I believe in a free and fair election more than I have any kind of allegiance to a candidate or a party.”
“In 2020 — if all these companies are supporting the same candidate — there are 15 million votes on the line that can be shifted without people’s knowledge, and without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace,” he continued.
Epstein then explained how the “Go Vote” reminder — which is not a political advertisement — that he used as an example in his testimony could be considered manipulation.
“If on election day in 2016, if Mark Zuckerberg, for example, had chosen to send out a ‘Go Vote’ reminder, say, just to Democrats — and no one would have known if he had done this — that would have given that day an additional, at least 450,000 votes to Democrats,” he said.
Epstein said the numbers are proven by a secret experiment Facebook conducted during the 2010 election that they published in 2012.
The company sent out a “Go Vote” reminder to 6 million voters “and they got something like 360,000 more people to get off their sofas and go vote who otherwise would have stayed home.”
“The point is, I don’t think that Mr. Zuckerberg sent out that reminder in 2016, I think he was overconfident, I think Google was overconfident, all these companies were,” Epstein said. “In 2018, I’m sure they were more aggressive, we have lots of data to support that.”
“And in 2020, you can bet that all of these companies are going to go all out. And the methods that they’re using are invisible, they’re subliminal, they’re more powerful than most any effects I’ve ever seen in the behavioral sciences, and I’ve been in the behavioral sciences for almost 40 years.”
The professor added that Zuckerberg could do this and it wouldn’t “cost him a dime.”
Even though Facebook did not send out that reminder, Epstein said in his testimony that biased Google search results gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“The 2.6 million is a rock bottom minimum,” Epstein told the committee.
“The range is between 2.6 and 10.4 million [votes], depending on how aggressively they use the techniques that I’ve been studying now for six and a half years … such as the search engine manipulation effect, the search suggestion effect, the answer bot effect and a number of others.
“They control these and no one can counteract them. These are not competitive, these are tools that they have at their disposal exclusively.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.