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Move Over Russia: Google Takes Lead in Election Interference

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The Google logo outside the company's New York City office. Google has been accused of election interference (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The Google logo outside the company’s New York City office. Google has been accused of election interference (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In a recent congressional testimony on “Google and Censorship through Search Engines, liberal professor Dr. Robert Epstein warned of Google interference in the upcoming presidential elections.

Speaking to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Epstein states that his “research over the past six years shows that Google, via various deliberate manipulations, moved between 2.6 million to 10.4 million votes to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential race.”

Cruz pointed out that in 2016, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign’s number one financial supporter was the parent company of Google, Alphabet.

Adding further significance to the conversation on election interference, Epstein warned that the figure of 2.6 million was “rock bottom minimum” in terms of votes influenced. More accurately, he said, the range for Google’s election interference was between 2.6 million to 10.4 million votes depending on how aggressive Google was in their  techniques.

Those techniques included search engine result manipulation, search suggestion manipulation and affecting answers.

The exchange between Senator Cruz and Epstein also warned that none of these Google interference tactics are competitive.

Instead, Silicon Valley giants like Google have these tools exclusively at their disposal, which raises the question of whether a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires can be trusted with that much influence.

The testimony came at the same time that presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard initiated a lawsuit against Google for $50 million. According to Vice News, the legal complaint centers on the allegation that,

“Google unfairly barred the Hawaii congresswoman from buying ads… [Google] has been criticized by many on the Right for censoring content that favors conservative viewpoints. However, Google’s favoritism of political and policy ideas is more nuanced and self-serving. Simply put, Google supports viewpoints, political causes, and candidates that favors its policy positions over those that do not.”

Gabbard’s campaign was looking to buy ad space in a six-hour window following the first Democratic presidential debate — a debate which she gave an outstanding statement on the “War on Terror.”

While the televised speech was watched by millions of followers, Gabbard understood that it would be critical to her campaign to ride that wave by marketing the event through digital media.

In a report by The New York Times, the lawsuit also outlines the Gabbard campaign’s belief that “its emails were being placed in spam folders on Gmail at ‘a disproportionately high rate’ when compared with emails from other Democratic candidates.”

The recent accusations against Google aren’t raised in a vacuum.

As Clarion Project has previously reported, Google has been caught teaming up with Chinese authorities in surveillance and prosecution measures over China’s Muslim population.

Moreover, Google has been called out for supporting a tracking app that allows Saudi men to control their wives’ and daughters’ movements.

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Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.

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