A prominent anti-bias watchdog who revealed how Google had likely helped swing some 6 million votes to Democrats in the 2020 general election said his efforts may have prevented similar foul play in Georgia‘s Jan. 5 US Senate runoffs.
Last November, Harvard-trained research psychologist Robert Epstein said his team had conducted about 500,000 searches to collect data for his pre-election analysis.
Despite more than doubling that in the lead-up to the high-stakes Georgia runoff—using 1,003 field agents to conduct 1,112,416 searches of Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube and Facebook—Epstein said the team observed no preferential treatment in home page and search results.
“We went public in late October with monitoring, and it appears that we forced Google to back off on Georgia,” he told WND.
That does not mean the Georgia runoff, which effectively delivered majority control of the Senate to Democrats, wasn’t subject to other forms of foul play.
The state’s Republican-led legislature acted swiftly afterward to close many of the dubious loopholes that leftists in Fulton County and other blue regions exploited to swing both the general election and the runoff.
That included the use of unmanned ballot drop-off stations funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as the use of partisan polling-station staffers hired through a temp agency that had ties to anti-election-integrity activist Stacey Abrams.
Nonetheless, Epstein, who identifies as a Democrat, said the success of his anti-bias monitoring had encouraged him to expand operations permanently into all 50 states.
“Next year, before the midterms, we would like to be building in as many states as possible the infrastructure for a large-scale permanent system,” said Epstein, who currently is a psychology professor at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in Vista, California.
Epstein said he was currently attempting to secure funding—a massive endeavor—but that his prior work meant that the operation itself would make it easier to implement and coordinate operations.
“The good news is we know how to do it,” he said. “That’s taken five years, and we know it can have an impact on the content these companies are showing people.”
In 2019, Epstein testified before the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee to warn about his observations.
“In 2020—if all these [big tech] 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 said.
His name resurfaced last year when Breitbart and Project Veritas revealed that Google was secretly blacklisting conservative sites, and that their removal—rather than simply applying China-designed algorithms to lower their rankings in search appearances—made it particularly difficult to trace the manipulations.
Other subversive tactics noted by Epstein and his research team during the 2020 election included Google sending more voting reminders to left-wing users than to conservative ones.
“I’m not a conservative, but this is very disturbing, from the perspective of the principles of a free and fair election,” he told WND.
Those same sorts of sophisticated techniques were also being used to manipulate the public at large, secretly tracking their content and tweaking their social-media feeds to effectively turn users into addicts.
“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,” Epstein said. “And I’ve been in the behavioral sciences for almost 40 years.”
He told WND that the powerful, monopolistic companies could easily avoid government efforts to regulate them through antitrust action.
“It’s a classic mechanism by which large companies work with government agencies to craft laws, punishments and settlements that serve those companies,” he said. “They will benefit the tech companies and not protect us.”
He saw more promise in approaching it as a consumer-safety issue. But even so, politicians who were on the take from the social-media megaliths would likely be loath to act unless it served their own interests.
“What that comes down to is money,” he said.