POLITICAL SCIENCE

Electing by Internet search algorithm

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Science  04 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6252, pp. 1067-1068
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6252.1067-d

With more people relying on the Internet as their primary information source, how information is delivered becomes increasingly important. To determine how Internet search rankings can influence undecided voters, Epstein and Robertson performed double-blinded, randomized controlled experiments on participants in the United States and India. They found that manipulating search engine results influenced voting preferences of undecided voters in a manner that could substantially affect a close election. Study participants perceived the induced bias infrequently. Artificially increasing the ranking of candidates shifted the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1419828112 (2015).

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