On Monday, August 19, the US President Donald Trump stated Google manipulated anywhere from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election. In his assessment, the President referred to psychologist Robert Epstein’s controversial research that was discussed on Fox News earlier on Monday.
“Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!” Trump twitted excitedly.
The President, however, got the research wrong. Robert Epstein quickly came back with a clarification: “I don’t have any evidence that Google manipulated anything,” he told CNN, adding that the pro-Clinton bias was “sufficient to have shifted between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes” to her, not 16 million as described by Trump.
The study itself included 95 people from 24 states, 21 of whom were undecided voters. It received a plethora of criticism from other scholars, noting downsides of Epstein’s methodology.
Google believes the study to be rather dubious and assures the company has “never re-ranked or altered search results to manipulate political sentiment”, as they told CNN. “This researcher’s inaccurate claim has been debunked since it was made in 2016,” Google added.
Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump’s 2016 democratic rival who won the popular vote but lost the presidency, ripped Trump on Twitter: “The debunked study you’re referring to was based on 21 undecided voters. For context that’s about half the number of people associated with your campaign who have been indicted.”