Search Engines Manipulate Voters   2 comments

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/politics/elections/using-search-engines-impacts-voter-decisions?utm_source=JR-email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JR-email&utm_source=Journalist%27s+Resource&utm_campaign=1213686eaf-2015_Sept_1_A_B_split3_24_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_12d86b1d6a-1213686eaf-79931141

I already knew this, which is why I often skip to the bottom of the first page or to subsequent pages, but when I told a friend that I did this, she insisted that my practice led to “nutjob, fact-less sites” and that I was better off sticking with the “best” sites at the top of the page.

This friend is a social worker and very liberal-progressive. She finds a lot of resonance in those “best” sites and considers anyone who doesn’t agree with her to be slightly imbalanced. My friend is not ignorant. She does a lot of research. But she has a false belief that she is being told the truth and refuses to look outside her bubble for contrarian facts.

I, on the other hand, often read those articles at the top of the page, but I don’t believe them and go looking for the contrarian facts because I believe that you really don’t know the facts if you haven’t read them all.

One of the things the article brought out is that low information voters are greatly influenced by SEO rankings. So there’s a push here in Alaska — and I presume elsewhere — to force everybody to vote. This manipulation of SEO rankings should concern us greatly if everyone — even the ill-informed — will be forced to vote.

 

2 responses to “Search Engines Manipulate Voters

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  1. I really wish people would do their research. How can you understand something when you don’t have all the facts? Puzzling but serious issue.

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    • The problem is that we don’t see the media manipulation around us. Even people who think they are doing their research don’t always see it. Those top half-dozen posts on the Google page are there because some company was hired to make them trend. Often, if you go to the second page, you find out what the media and the political campaigns didn’t want you to know. To prevent that, however, it is noised about that the top posts are “more reliable” sites. And we believe it because we don’t want to believe that we’re being manipulated.

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