Election 2020

Does Google Secretly Manipulate Us To Vote for Democrats? The Evidence Is Flimsy.

Republicans have seized on the dubious claims of a psychologist who thinks Big Tech is shifting millions of votes to the left.

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As the 2020 presidential election heats up, alarmism over "Big Tech"'s influence on voters is again reaching a fever pitch. Democrats fear the impact of fake news and Russian bots, while Republicans complain of supposed anti-conservative bias and censorship at Google, Twitter, and Facebook. They all agree that the federal government needs more power over online speech

To bolster allegations of liberal activism by tech companies, Republicans have put a spotlight on the research of Robert Epstein, a Harvard-trained psychologist and self-described Hillary Clinton supporter who has called Google's search engine "the most powerful mind control device ever devised." 

A former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, Epstein has conducted a series of studies over the past seven years that he says show that search engines and social media companies have used subliminal manipulation to shift a significant number of votes to Democrats. He says that the tech industry poses an even more pervasive threat in 2020 to the presidential election and to American democracy. 

Google has called his work "nothing more than a poorly constructed conspiracy theory," while Donald Trump cited Epstein's research as an explanation for why he lost the popular vote in 2016 by nearly 3 million votes. Hillary Clinton responded that Epstein's studies have been "debunked."

A careful review of Epstein's work reveals that, though his research does not display any obvious methodological or statistical flaws, his findings don't support the claims that he's been making about the tech giants' influence on real elections. Epstein over-extrapolates from his research to make allegations that have been seized on by politicians when making the case for more government control over internet platforms.

In testimony last year before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) called "incredibly powerful and incredibly concerning," Epstein asserted that in 2016, bias in Google's search algorithm may have shifted between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes to Hillary Clinton; that in 2018, the search engine may have shifted upwards of 78.2 million votes to Democratic candidates; and that if all the tech platforms get together in 2020, they could shift 15 million votes to Joe Biden, engineering a 20 percent win margin and a landslide election victory. 

"Election by election, I can calculate how many votes these companies can shift," Epstein tells Reason. His numeric estimates, he says, come from combining the results of several research studies that date back to 2013.

In Epstein's initial lab-based and online experiments, participants spent up to 15 minutes researching details on a foreign election they knew nothing about. They used a fake search engine similar to Google that reordered results to favor a particular candidate. Then Epstein asked them how much their opinions of the candidate had shifted. He called the effect he was measuring the "Search Engine Manipulation Effect," or SEME.

Based on the results of this research, Epstein testified before Congress that "biased search results can easily produce shifts in the opinions and voting preferences of undecided voters by up to 80 percent in some demographic groups." 

Epstein has used his SEME results to make other bold and specific claims, alleging that as of 2015, "upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world were being decided by Google's search engine." To arrive at this number, he compared the actual winning margins in elections around the globe to the proportion of undecided voters' opinions he was able to shift in his SEME research and "just kind of put the two together." 

"The logic he described is just wrong," says Aaron Brown, a statistician and former chief risk manager at the hedge fund AQR Capital Management who examined Epstein's research at our request. Brown says that when calculating that number, Epstein makes the "absurd assumption" that biased search engines are the only thing influencing votes. Brown notes that people's political opinions are shaped by everything from their family to their religion to an ad they might have seen. Epstein's studies, says Brown, feature artificial scenarios that remove all the other sources of information and influence participants would normally be exposed to in a real election.

Epstein says he has reproduced SEME in realistic situations, pointing to an online study he ran in 2014 on Indian voters during a national election, which produced shifts in preference of 60 percent or more among some demographics. In that experiment, participants used Epstein's biased search engine for an average of five minutes and then reported whether their opinions of the candidates had shifted after seeing the results.

"Whether that translates to actual changes in the vote people ultimately cast—I think there's zero evidence for that," Brown responds. He says that participants in this type of behavioral research often answer in the way that they think the experimenter wants them to; even if their opinions really do change, by the time they show up at an actual polling site, it's likely that all sorts of other factors have changed their opinions yet again.

"The people whose votes you're going to shift with something as trivial as five minutes on a biased search engine are going to be the people whose votes are easiest to shift," says Brown, adding that they're also probably the least likely to vote at all. To show that SEME was actually influencing elections, Brown says that Epstein needed to have measured "how many actual votes shifted, not how many people reported a shift in opinion."

As evidence that tech companies can affect real voting behavior, Epstein points to a study run on 61 million Facebook users on election day 2010 that tested the impact of get-out-the-vote messages. He emphasizes that the study found that an additional 340,000 people voted as a result of all the manipulations the experimenters tested. 

But Brown says this fits Epstein's pattern of focusing on seemingly large numbers without giving their proper context. The Facebook study found that only one out of five people who said they voted after seeing the get-out-the-vote message actually did. The most effective appeal increased real voting by just 0.4 percent.

Brown concludes that the Facebook study "makes Epstein's higher estimates of his effects seem implausible," and he suggests that far fewer people would actually change their votes as compared to the effects Epstein has observed. He says that because the experimenters measured actual voting, the results are "not a theoretical thing based on a sort of chain of logic."

Asked to respond to Brown's criticisms, Epstein says his estimate that tech companies could shift 15 million votes this year is "conservative, based on what I know we can do in our experiments." And though his studies measured shifts in opinion and not voting behavior directly, Epstein says that "research on polling suggests that people's stated intentions are excellent predictors of their votes." 

After his SEME experiments, Epstein still had to answer one more critical question before he could arrive at the number of real votes Google was changing: Is the company actually biasing the information it shows to users?

Epstein says Google and other tech companies are "absolutely determined to control the outcome of the upcoming election," pointing to leaked documents published by the conservative activist group Project Veritas and interviews with ex-employees alleging that Google sometimes intervenes to rerank search results or remove content it deems objectionable. 

Tech platforms have often been inconsistent in explaining how they apply their community guidelines to remove or limit certain content. But experts in online search argue the technology is necessarily complex and always evolving. Several studies have concluded that there's no clear evidence Google biases results for political purposes. Company executives also deny ever doing so. 

Epstein needed more evidence that they were doing just that. So, in 2016, he ran a study in which he secretly monitored the search results of 95 "field agents" in 24 states after they typed neutral terms, such as "Hillary's health plan," into Google, Bing, and Yahoo. He found a pro–Hillary Clinton bias in all 10 positions on the first page of Google's results, but not on Bing or Yahoo. After measuring the bias, Epstein combined these results with the shifts in opinion he was able to generate in his earlier SEME research to calculate how many votes Google had supposedly shifted in real national elections.

But Epstein wasn't able to determine the source of the bias he measured, and his monitoring work has been criticized by other social scientists, in part for using a small number of participants who are unlikely to be representative of the U.S. electorate. And though his claims focus on undecided voters, his data on the bias they're exposed to are especially limited. Of his 95 field agents in 2016, only 21 identified themselves as undecided, and he didn't ask the political preferences of others.

Epstein emphasizes that the monitoring systems he's set up thus far have been "proof-of-concept projects." Going forward, he says "we want to have numbers that aren't just statistically valid—we want to have numbers that are psychologically valid," which would mean collecting "literally millions of pieces of data coming in every day from a very diverse group of people whose demographics we know." 

But he doesn't regret extrapolating directly from the data he's collected thus far and widely publicizing the resulting numbers. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Epstein called his estimate that Google shifted at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016 "a rock bottom minimum—the range is between 2.6 and 10.4 million."

"I'm very careful to word things in a way that I think has integrity," Epstein tells Reason, asserting that he's never claimed that the bias he observed in his small sample group is indicative of the experience of all Americans. "I've never said I know that level of bias was present nationwide," he emphasizes. "I've never said that."

Brown says the issue is not Epstein's experimental design, but the fact that he continues to repeat numbers that would only be accurate if the effects he's measured were the sole factors influencing voters. In the context of all the things that influence votes, Brown says that Epstein hasn't convinced him SEME is a significant one.

In Epstein's reply to Brown's critique, he writes that Brown "has no idea how powerful new forms of influence can be—especially influence that people can't see." Epstein argues that tech companies' influence is more insidious than other forms of attempted online voter manipulation, such as political ads, biased news stories, or Russian troll farms, because users assume computer-generated content is neutral, and because they can be manipulated repeatedly over long periods of time without knowing it.

Epstein believes that the influence he's measuring is just the tip of the iceberg, since tech companies have vast troves of user-specific data to mine and can use many other so-called ephemeral effects—through search and video suggestions, answer boxes, newsfeeds, and more—to target and manipulate voters in the real world on an ongoing basis.

But Brown says the world is full of implicit messaging, and, unlike in Epstein's research, studies have shown directly that other types of unconscious influence can have a large effect on real voting behavior. He cites as an example the fact that the top person on the ballot gets between one and 10 percent more votes than they would get if the ballot order were reversed.

"There's plenty of subliminal and implicit messages that people get all the time," says Brown. "You don't need an international conspiracy or a secret group of technocrats in Silicon Valley to influence elections."

Epstein has argued in the past that Google's business model should be prohibited by law and that the search engine should be regulated like a phone company. He now advocates for what he calls "light-touch regulation," arguing that the company's search index, or the database of web content on which it builds search results, should be made into a public commons. He points to the E.U. for guidance on how aggressively the U.S. government should police tech platforms.

The irony is that some tech CEOs actually welcome regulation, because they already have teams of attorneys and lobbyists at their disposal but new legal requirements are costly barriers to entry for upstart competitors. A study done one year after the E.U. passed sweeping regulations in 2018 in the name of protecting privacy found that Google and Facebook had in fact gained market share.

Epstein's research is again gaining traction this election cycle among pundits and politicians eager for evidence that Big Tech has it out for the GOP, and his alarming estimates of the real votes these companies are shifting have helped politicians make the case for regulating the internet.

Trump has cited "rigged search results" in calling for greater federal control over online speech, and he recently signed an executive order targeting social media. In July, he tasked the Federal Communications Commission with investigating tech platforms for violations of Section 230, the law sometimes known as the internet's First Amendment. Republicans in Congress have proposed legislation that would largely eliminate the speech protections in Section 230, allowing the government to punish tech companies if officials were to deem a user's post unacceptable, and the Department of Justice is reportedly planning to file a new antitrust case against Google before Election Day.

And it's not just Republicans agitating for control over online speech. Senate Democrats joined them in a bipartisan effort to subpoena tech CEOs in advance of the election. Numerous prominent Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, have promised further crackdowns on internet platforms for the content that users post. 

Heading into the 2020 vote, Epstein says his only interest is in free and fair elections. But his alarmist predictions have aided politicians' opportunistic efforts to get Americans to hand them more power over the internet and to control the free exchange of ideas online. Despite the limitations of his research, Epstein continues to speculate on the number of votes tech companies are shifting, confident that his claims haven't gone nearly far enough.

Produced, written, and edited by Justin Monticello; camera by Zach Weissmueller and John Osterhoudt; graphics by Austin Bragg, Lex Villena, and Paul Detrick; audio production by Ian Keyser.

Music: Cooper Cannell, Futuremono, Kyle Preston, Quincas Moreira, and Lex Villena. 

Photos: 190360221 © Martyn Scates | Dreamstime.com; Photo 99491079 © Alex Grichenko | Dreamstime.com; Illustration 151893782 © Siarhei Nosyreu | Dreamstime.com; Photo 4031959 © Momentsintime | Dreamstime.com; Illustration 183296338 © Skypixel | Dreamstime.com; Illustration 147020235 © Cgracer | Dreamstime.com; Photo 131140532 © Tero Vesalainen | Dreamstime.com; ID 4949445 © Eti Swinford | Dreamstime.com; ID 143609625 © Palinchak | Dreamstime; Pavlo Gonchar/ZUMA Press/Newscom; ID 137038247 © Ian Mcglasham| Dreamstime.com

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  1. What part of “secretly manipulate us” don’t you understand? It wouldn’t be much of a secret if everybody knew about it, would it?

    1. The fact that virtually every Republican stance is labeled “hate speech” and therefore downgraded or removed from searches means nothing. Nope, no manipulation there.

      1. I doubt it’s every Republican, it’s just the right-wing extremists that are being shut down. The good Republicans, the NeverTrumpers, are still allowed to speak freely. If you’re a fascist, like anybody to the right of Jennifer Rubin, George Conway, John Kasich, or Donna Brazile, you’re much too dangerous to be allowed to speak.

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      2. Do you have any evidence to back up that crazy claim? No, you don’t, because it’s an utterly insane position. Because, of course, by “virtually every” you mean “some,” and by “downgraded or removed,” you mean “not as relevant or popular as the opposing liberal position.”

        1. You calling things crazy is as credible as if Sqrls or Hihn did.

        2. Is there a topic you wont take a leftist position on this week?

          https://www.gotchseo.com/google-biased/

          1. Lol. Did you even read your own link, you half-wit?

        3. https://quillette.com/2019/02/12/it-isnt-your-imagination-twitter-treats-conservatives-more-harshly-than-liberals/

          I won’t even get into the fuckery that is the SPLC and how the major SV and media companies use them.

          Are you even trying to not be a leftist anymore? You seem to deny reality often.

          1. I wasn’t talking about Twitter, or even Google News. I will grant you that Google News leans left, but that is because most news sources lean left. Even with that, I often see Fox News in there, and sometimes it is the top result. But we were talking about Google search, and there is no evidence that Google search is biased against conservatives. Even your own link above shows that.

            1. “ I will grant you that Google News leans left, but that is because most news sources lean left.”

              This admission does not mean what you think it means.

            2. “Where is your evidence?”

              *dozens of sources cited*

              “LOL WEAKSAUCE FAKE NEWS!”

              Do you actually think anybody doesn’t notice that your entire fucking existence is walking, talking, typing logical fallacy?

      3. I’m guessing Michelle Obama’s little speech wasn’t labeled “hate speech”, and I can’t think of anything I’ve seen in years that was as thoroughly hate filled as it was.

    2. What’s more, if they were capable of that level of manipulation, why couldn’t the just manipulate us into ignoring the evidence?

      1. You say that is if you don’t know how hard they are trying to do just that.

        They are certainly SUPPRESSING the evidence.

        1. No. Saying they are manipulating search results is not remotely the same thing as saying they have manipulated even one person to vote Democrat who wouldn’t have otherwise done so.

          If they actually had the ability to manipulate people that way, they wouldn’t need to suppress the evidence because no one would pay any attention to it.

    3. Piffle. Everybody knows that Google has no power to influence elections, that is nut-job right wing conspiracy theory.

      The Russians, on the other hand, used Facebook to get Trump elected. That is a fact.

      1. And it only cost them $150,000. That’s like 10 seconds of prime time.

      2. Why would the Russians have wanted Trump elected, rather than the long-time ally in whom they had invested millions . . ?

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    1. Reason has been turning skeptical people into republicans for years. Every corporate press talking point they use wakes people up to the depravity of the corporate press and the moral bankruptcy required to be a part of it

      1. So you’re woke?

        1. Self-professed “woke” people are comatose. It’s time to take Woke back! Libertarians are the wokest voting bloc of all.

    2. No, Reason tries to do it openly.

    3. No, they openly attempt to manipulate us to vote LP.
      I’ll agree that they have a TDS problem with some of the writers (perhaps most). But I don’t see anything you could really call pro-Democrats. Maybe you think trying to play outside of the two party system is a fool’s errand, but that’s what they do.

      1. It’s what the have always done in the 30 plus years I’ve been reading them. I’m not a member of either party and despite the TDS they crap on stupid D actions as well. So in that sense they are far better than corporate media.

        1. I agree. Reason seems to dog both sides much more than corporate media – but they still have shills reporting.

          Also, we need to get the public to understand a second dimension to the left right paradigm. I think the political compass does well when it also sub-divides views into a north south polarization – authoritarian at north, libertarian at south.

          Now, how to teach which positions are indicia of authoritarian vs libertarian, while simultaneously correctly interpreting the left/right representation would probably take years for the average person.

  2. Google wants to be a public utility with no liability for anything but allowed to censor with abandon. What is so bad about that!? Its so sophisticated and European!

    1. Google wants to be a public utility with no liability for anything but allowed to censor with abandon.

      If Hitler had contracted out the Gestapo, Reason would’ve lauded his free market tendencies.

      1. Well they were firm proponents of racial justice after all

  3. Secretly? No.
    Openly? That depends on what you consider hiding a conservative article ten pages deep when searched for by the exact title, in quotes.

    1. That reminds me of some of my google searches before the 2016 election

      Me typing “Hillary Clinton Foundation corruption”

      Results, 10 variations of: “Vanity Fair/NYT/Liberal Fart Bouquets Weekly writer sits down with Hillary to discuss the stresses of balancing her Clinton Foundation duties with singlehandedly trying to rid the world of Republican corruption, also her wine recommendations “

    2. Have any evidence that actually happened? What was the title of the article in question?

      Whatever effect supposed bias in Google search results has on people’s opinions, I expect it is utterly insignificant compared to the effects of the so-called “yellow journalism” of the late 19th century.

        1. This happens on YouTube as well. Can put channel name and video title and it won’t come up first page.

      1. Did these studies control for personalized search results?

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Personalized_Search

        I mean, this alone is enabled by default on every browser and effectively skews search results in favor of whatever sites you’ve visited before.

        It creates its own echo chamber personalized just for the user.

        1. Every google chrome browser – sorry. Also any browser that has installed google plugins. I’m not sure if just googling by going to googles website does it by default, but the technology works through a single cookie.

    3. Wait.. People haven’t learned to use site:site? Then again, i don’t use Google.

      1. DuckDuckGo is still google.

  4. Their executives are democrats, most of their employees are, and they fire the ones that are not. Why would you expect them to suddenly become fair towards the public? You should assume they are hostile.

    1. There were hundreds of employees who took positions back and forth between the Obama administration and Google

      1. I guess that they couldn’t decide which job gave them the most power.

  5. “Brown says the issue is not Epstein’s experimental design, but the fact that he continues to repeat numbers that would only be accurate if the effects he’s measured were the sole factors influencing voters.”

    But $100,000 of Russian trolling hacked the election for Trump, right?

    That’s what every mainstream outlet, including this rag, was shouting for 3 years. Russia hacked the election. Based on one factor.

    So you’re admitting you’re a bunch of fucking morons?

    1. That’s what every mainstream outlet, including this rag, was shouting for 3 years. Russia hacked the election. Based on one factor.

      It wasn’t just one factor. Now, the only factor that was true was that Russians bought ads on FB, but it wasn’t just one factor.

  6. I know a wingnut that “proved” Google is biased against conservatives because search results for how life on Earth began were all science and no Creationism/Genesis.

    Conservatives just need their own search engine like how they have to have their own colleges, media sources, entertainment, critics, etc. Schools like Hillsdale and Liberty U can pound their stupid pablum into students brains and no one else will care.

    1. Try landoverbaptist.net with God’s News Ticker…

    2. Anyone got an answer to this?

  7. I don’t think there’s anything secret about it.

  8. So nobody cares about the video of Google execs talking about how the tried to influence the 2016 election, and since Trump won they wouldn’t let it happen again? If a company execs say they are going to try and manipulate the election why don’t people believe them?

    1. Citation needed.

        1. Thank you

        2. You got a timestamp? I am not gonna watch a one hour video.

          1. Holy shit! The truth is soooooo tedious!
            – your Chipper Morning Wood, people! Give him a hand!

          2. I don’t, unfortunately, but I have seen the whole hour long video and I would merely beg your trust at this point and say that he did mention in the video– in relation to the 2016 election that “we’ll never let that happen again”.

            Now… having said that, lots of interpretations could follow. What…exactly was ‘google’ not going to allow happen again. It’s possible that he had fallen for the (now declassified) attempt by the Clinton campaign to carefully suggest that Russia had manipulated the election by buying google ads. So it’s conceivable that he firmly believed that his own platform had been hijacked by sneaky Russians and White Supremacists who stole the election from the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, and THAT’S what Google was “not going to allow to happen again”.

            But that video was… in my opinion, a very ugly window into Google’s culture.

            1. In fact, I would go as far as conceding that’s EXACTLY what he meant– that Google would no longer allow “nefarious” forces to manipulate opinion on their platform– with the noble and benevolent idea that they would keep information pure and clean on Google going forward.

              But there’s the problem. Google has created for itself such an expansive and vague definition of ‘nefarious’, that it seems clear their definition elevates up to and INCLUDES as nefarious, sources which simply “disagree” with the political culture of Google’s leadership.

              1. Final thought: This is what happens when you’re so convinced of your own virtue, that you come to think of everything you believe as unadorned, indisputable fact, and anyone posing a counter opinion isn’t presenting just a differing opinion, but is instead opposing hardened facts and science.

                1. I think your spot on. Google if they continue in this pattern will go the way of Ask Jeeves. The reason they rose to dominance was that it was superior at finding what people wanted. If they no longer provide that superior service, people will start to use another search engine and once that happens it will be hard to gain those customers back. Won’t happen overnight but when the flood gates finally break look out.

                  I am also not sure they can curb this pattern unless they get rid of employees by the truck load; from the James Damore incident it doesn’t appear to be a small by vocal minority but a large portion of their workforce.

                  1. It’s top down.
                    Look up Eric Scmidt.

            2. If that’s all he said, sorry, but that’s weak sauce in trying to convince me that there is some ulterior plot at Google to fuck with their algorithms to influence the election.

              1. That quote alone isn’t the evidence, it’s part of the body of evidence that points to the fact that Google does in fact manipulate its algorithm to squash or de-elevate opinions and/or opinion makers who disagree with a specific narrative. Or was the whole “trusted sources” and ‘fact checking’ policy something that completely passed you by?

              2. Even just a year ago, I might have agreed with you. But this year we have seen the press and social and other media platforms go into full propaganda mode for covid policies and BLM/protest/riot stuff.

                I don’t know what the answer is. I certainly am not in favor of repealing 230 or some kind of regulation of internet media companies. But those companies can behave in evil and destructive ways, and I think that is happening now. And their bias is certainly toward the left and against the right (and others like libertarians who often get lumped in with the right).

      1. Even though the video (and evidence) is not ‘definitive proof’ of Google manipulating elections (which in a twisted way, I think they have a right to do), it shows how the culture works, and the fact that they had an all-hands meeting to self flagellate over the horrors of the results tells you much about how every level, all the way to the top works at Google.

        I think this article we’re commenting on is reductive and misses the point. There probably isn’t any evidence that they’re trying to “make you vote for Democrats”… they’re just continuously (and sometimes aggressively) shaving the dice on what information gets to you, and what is… more difficult to find.

        Stephen Crowder has done extensive videos on search results for his content (and Tulsi Gabbard’s, for that matter) on how difficult it was to find his ‘change my mind’ video series– by searcing “stephen crowder change my mind”, yet how easy it was to find those videos when you did a search from various other locales on the globe.

        1. Watched a doc on Prime about this Epstein guy. He is quite explicit in explaining how he views the bias. It is not necessarily a purposeful bias… but simply a necessary one. There is a near infinite number of webpages that exist. To run a search a system has to filter those. The coding of that filter, by necessity, is a bias for some pages and against others. And as one page begins to rise to the top because it passes the first forms of filter, it gains “merit” to pass future filters, thereby becoming the standard. It’s a self-fulfilling issue of accidentally selecting and then promoting the ‘best’ result. Why was Walmart the best result over Target? As people go with the first option of Walmart, that pushes Walmart farther ahead of Target in the ranking system meaning that it gets more clicks, so it gets more credibility with the filter, so it gets farther ahead of Target, and gets more clicks and so on….

          But WHY Walmart? WHY this news story over that one? WHY CNN over NYT? Doesn’t have to be nefarious. But only ONE page can be chosen to go in the top spot.

          The power of the top spot was then proven when Google (and others) began to place favored (not indexed) links ABOVE the search results.

          Then the same thing happens with auto-fill. If more people follow “Hillary Clinton…” with “for president” in their typing… then the person who comes along and searches “Hillary Clinton broke the law” will find the autocomplete pushing them towards the “… for president” searches. And it is likely to bring up the “for president” results, to at least some degree, even in the search for “broke the law.”

          Again, nothing nefarious is needed to cause this. But it gets causes all the same and it impacts voters. As Brown notes, all sorts of things impacts voters. That means he is at least conceding the ultimate point… that the bias, nefarious or not, IS impacting the behavior of people at least to SOME degree with is ultimately the point Epstein is making. He is just pointing out that, just as with other things, THIS form does in fact result in actual behavior with people and as such should be studied, exposed, and considered.

          1. Google was deliberately censoring auto fill for Clinton in 2016.
            “Hillary Clinton c” wasn’t returning “Hillary Clinton corruption” which was the first suggestion on other search engines.
            No, I don’t have a cite and don’t care to find one.
            Take it or leave it.

      2. Holy crap you are fucking ignorant.

  9. Subliminal? Now that’s funny; there’s nothing subliminal about it. For example, anybody remember a couple of weeks ago when google disappeared all conservative websites from their search results? But your Silicon Valley overlords are pleased — you win a cookie.

    This comment not approved by Silicon Valley brain slugs.

    1. Citation needed.

        1. Remarkably it was only Conservative sites that were affected. Strange how all these accidents only go one way.

          https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/google-disappeared-conservative-websites-for-hours-claims-to-have-since-fixed-the-bug

          1. Sounds like a bug that they promptly fixed. Sorry guys, all these links are weak sauce. I am open to evidence, but the evidence so far has not been convincing. Like I said above, yes, Google News is biased to the left. But there is no evidence that Google Search is biased against conservatives.

            1. Notice how you’ve asked for citations to every claim in this comment section, gotten multiple citations for every claim in this comment thread, and then dismissed every citation in this comment thread?

        2. I don’t go to Daily Mail, because they block ad blockers.

          1. No, they don’t. I have an approximately 425,000 domain gravity list in Pi-Hole as well as browser-based script and ad blocking and the page loads just fine. Instead of lying like a pathetic cunt, why don’t you just continue with the “LALALALALALALALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” strategy you’ve been employing up to this point?

      1. Whats your goal with this? To continue to prove how dumb you are? Yore white knighting (sock) a billion dollar corporation through ignorance.

        1. http://twitter.com/TheBabylonBee/status/1313962332159184896?s=19

          Man Who Agrees With The Media, Universities, Corporations, And Hollywood Thinks He’s Part Of The Resistance

  10. Brother. Please stop. This website bends over backwards to give at least some cursory nod to right wing conspiracy theories…suggesting maybe there’s some evidence. Back in the day it was “let’s see if in fact climate change is a hoax…oh boy, the emails that got stolen…scientists are making money off of it…storms aren’t getting worse, ice isn’t melting at the poles…”

    Stop embarrassing yourselves.

    1. Back in the day it was “let’s see if in fact climate change is a hoax…oh boy, the emails that got stolen…scientists are making money off of it…storms aren’t getting worse, ice isn’t melting at the poles…”

      And here we are 10-20 yrs. later, oceans 3m deeper and we’re all dead because the water dried up and crops wouldn’t grow.

      1. Speaking of embarrassing himself, how goes it MC?

        1. Pretty good. Are you going to stop beating your wife before climate change kills us all or not?

          1. I have no time to beat my wife because I’m too busy fucking your mom Have a stellar day!

            1. Makes sense, because you’re a creepy freak who isn’t above raiding graveyards and his mom’s been dead for decades.

              Oh, you forgot to turn your Jackoff Ace sock back on, Buttplug.

              1. The libertarian intelligentsia checks in! Mommy Dearest!

                1. The libertarian intelligentsia

                  I’m okay with that.

                2. Fuck off Shreek.

            2. When you accidentally forget to switch to your other sock…

              Also, 9 year olds can’t become mothers, kiddie fucker.

      2. How can you even talk about global warming? Radiation from Fukashima is making its way across the Pacific!

        1. thats probably how the Murder hornets got here, trying to outrun the radiation or are they a by product of radiation

          1. White supremacists did it

    2. Climate change is a hoax. Global warming is real but hurricane frequency and total seasonal unleashed energy is unchanged for 50 years. Same is true of tornadoes. Every computer model used in 1998 by the IPCC had only one thing in common, they were all wrong and greatly overestimated the amount of warming over the last 20 years. Droughts and floods are both with statistical norms.

      The earth has warmed but not in a manner inconsistent with previous warming events.

      Science tells us nothing, only scientists can speak. Science is a body of knowledge and a method for acquiring and validating knowledge. To follow the science, you have travel the road yourself and not rely on someone telling you the things you want to hear.

      1. Ah, I see. Tell Bailey. He thinks you’re wrong.

        1. Bailey and I are would probably both characterize ourselves as “luke warmists”. Bailey does not believe that hurricanes are more powerful or more plentiful, or that tornadoes are more destructive. We disagree on the level of warming caused by CO2. I do not deny that CO2 contributes to warming, but I do deny that it is the sole forcing function involved.

          1. Here is the quote from Bailey:

            “ The earth is indeed warming. Climate researchers uncontroversially agree that the average global surface temperature has increased by about 1 degree Celsius since the 19th century. About half of that increase has occurred during the last 30 years. As the planet has warmed, mountain glaciers around the world have been shrinking, Arctic sea ice has been declining, rainstorms have become somewhat fiercer, the area affected by extreme droughts has been expanding, the amount of heat being absorbed by the world’s oceans has been increasing, and the global sea level has been rising.”

            1. Tell us: what percentage of the atmosphere is composed of CO2, and what percentage *should* it be

          2. And he concluded that article:

            “Will climate change be apocalyptic? Probably not, but the possibility is not zero. So just how lucky do you feel? Frankly, after reviewing the scientific evidence, I’m not feeling nearly as lucky as I once did.”

            In other words, he’s more worried each year.

          3. Well, one thing is that tornadoes and hurricanes are judged by the dollar amount of damage they cause. A strong hurricane that blows down a bunch of beach shanties will be discounted, but a lesser one that blows down a few hundred beach mansions and causes $X billions of damage will get all the press. An F5 tornado that tears up 25 miles of corn fields is easy to ignore, but an F2 that hits a small town will be hyped for weeks.

            Of course, we keep building billions of dollars worth of homes and infrastructure in hurricane zones.

          4. I for one don’t deny that the globe may be warming (or at least that the climate may be changing), nor even that man may have exacerbated this trend. And I am willing to do my part to help minimize my impact, because if nothing else, pollution is bad, m’kay?

            My problem is that it seems like almost all of the alarmists don’t seem to care about the actual solutions, like carbon capture or nuclear power. Instead, they are watermelons who wrap a very thin skin of green around their socialism and SJW tendencies.

            And they’re starting to stop even pretending anymore…For several years now, the climate alarmists have at least been more and more honest about their goals, and they have little to do with environmentalism or reversing climate change.

            For many, it’s about a new world order…with them in charge of course…

            Far-left climate extremist Greta Thunberg claimed that fossil fuels “are literally” killing mankind, and that they are a threat to “our very existence” as she said that her “climate crisis” agenda is not just about the environment, but about fighting the “colonial, racist, and patriarchal systems of oppression.”

            “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal, is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all…Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing,” Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti

            (OTTMAR EDENHOFER, UN IPCC OFFICIAL): Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War… First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

            Christiana Figueres, leader of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.”

            Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti The Green New Deal “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all … we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

            Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth: “A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources.”

            Daphne Muller, green-progressive-liberal writer for Salon: “This moment requires we the people to rethink democracy as a global mechanism for enacting policy for and by the planet.”

            Gus Hall, former leader of the Communist Party USA: “Human society cannot basically stop the destruction of the environment under capitalism. Socialism is the only structure that makes it possible.”

            David Brower, a founder of the Sierra Club: “The goal now is a socialist, redistributionist society, which is nature’s proper steward and society’s only hope.”

            1. For some others, it’s about the money or power, and they’ll use the “science”, real or imagined, to that end (but still tossing in a few SWJ buzzwords):

              Monika Kopacz, atmospheric scientist: “It is no secret that a lot of climate-change research is subject to opinion, that climate models sometimes disagree even on the signs of the future changes (e.g. drier vs. wetter future climate). The problem is, only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians’ — and readers’ — attention. So, yes, climate scientists might exaggerate, but in today’s world, this is the only way to assure any political action and thus more federal financing to reduce the scientific uncertainty.”

              Former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO), then representing the Clinton-Gore administration as U.S undersecretary of state for global issues, addressing the same Rio Climate Summit audience, agreed: “We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

              Christine Stewart, former Canadian Environment Minister: “No matter if the science is all phoney, there are collateral environmental benefits…. climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

              Researcher Robert Phalen’s 2010 testimony to the California Air Resources Board: “It benefits us personally to have the public be afraid, even if these risks are trivial.”

        2. You mean the same Bailey who lied about Biden’s fracking plans this morning?

        3. If you’re going to appeal to authority, maybe go with someone who has some authority – Bailey has no credibility.

          1. Baily has alot of credibility. That’s why most of his sites are other thing he has written.

        4. Lol. Jesus Christ kiddie fucker, if you’re going to appeal to authority could you at least pick somebody whose terminal education level isn’t an undergraduate degree in philosophy?

  11. This is a diversion. The media gets attention with drama, which means pushing dystopic tripe — vaccines are killing us, big tech is fooling us, global warming is going to reach a tipping point, the Soviets have more missiles, there’s razor blades and drugs in Hallowe’en candy, stores are abandoning the Christ in Christmas ….. if it scares people, it’s news. Good news doesn’t sell, the status quo doesn’t sell.

    Of COURSE this favors Democrats in the current climate. Before the Civil War, I couldn’t begin to guess which party was favored by what drama, but ever since, it’s been Democrats finding flaws in society which only government can fix, and that’s what the media push because the status quo doesn’t.

    Google news search results are naturally going to be biased in the same way.

    Platforms can censor whatever they want, it’s their platform. But the government has larded on so many regulations that competitors who could give them a run for their money have a hard time starting up.

    There’s the real scandal, and as usual, government is at the heart of it.

    1. “Go build your own platform and launch a counter-psyops operation, wingnut”

  12. Let me explain to you like a progressive would: “Obviously, Google would never secretly manipulate us to vote for Democrats. What they are doing is stamping out fake news and Russian bots, and they stand up for rational, science based discourse. It’s just when you engage in rational science based discourse and policy making, you naturally vote for Democrats. Only superstitious redneck hillbillies duped by Russian bots would ever vote for Republicans.”

    That’s what these people think. It is inconceivable to them that rational, informed people could reach different conclusions from the conclusions they reach.

    It’s the same kind of delusion the Soviets suffered from when they sent people to reeducation camps and mental health treatment for disagreeing with socialism. They just don’t even understand how far beyond the pale they are.

  13. Republicans just desperately searching for an excuse for when they lose the presidency next month. (Even though they will probably pick up seats elsewhere). I despise Biden and despise he running mate even more, but that does not excuse the GOP excuse fishing going on right now. They’re preparing for a litany of excuses to use when Trump loses.

    Just like Democrats blamed the Russians and Facebook, Trump is going to blame Russians, Facebook, Google, COVID-19, mail-in voting, three ballots found in a dumpster, etc. There will be so many excuses to jump between that no response can cover them all, thus the perception in the public some of them MUST be true.

    They are priming the pump for excuse spigot. Just this very morning I get an URGENT email from a GOP candidate URGENTLY telling me to report any fraudulent ballot I may have received in the mail. What the fuck? And NOT report them to the registrar of voters, but to report them to that candidate. What the fuck? The whole notion is ridiculous on the face of it. Does he suggest my ballot is already filled in? That it was stolen and replaced by a counterfeit? That instead of dumping ballots in the bay they are stuffing them in my mailbox?

    This makes absolutely no sense, but it DOES spread fear and confusion. That was the whole point of the email, to get me scared and donate money to the candidate so he can beat his Democrat challenger who is engaged in spurious activities such as stuffing fake ballots in my mailbox.

    This Google shit is just more of the same. “We lost because of the Google.” Don’t mistake this as anything other than what it is: excuse pump priming

    1. You clearly skipped some major parts of the article.
      -Epstein supported Hillary and is not part of the “GOP” “they” you
      speak of.
      -It didn’t start last week as an attempt to blunt the likely loss of
      Trump to Biden but has been researched for quite some time, even
      before the 2016 election.
      -The “they” aren’t behind the research so “they” aren’t doing anything
      causing this story. They are repeating it, sure… not causing it.

    2. Republicans just desperately searching for an excuse for when they lose the presidency next month.

      Progressives think they need excuses when they loose elections because they think history is one giant arc of marching towards a glorious progressive future, and if they fail to gain power, they must have done something wrong.

      Conservatives don’t need excuses. We understand that all societies fail sooner or later. The US had a good run. Sooner or later, people like Harris and Biden will get into power and turn the US into a third world shithole. Maybe we can stave that off by a decade or a century, but sooner or later it’s going to happen.

      If Trump loses to Harris/Biden, it’s no mystery why: Trump has made numerous political errors and he doesn’t communicate well. Again, no excuses needed, that’s just the way it is.

      The excuses will come from progressives when the Harris/Biden administration turns out to be even more of a failure than the Obama administration. Of course, people like you are gullible enough to believe those excuses.

      1. This is correct. If Trump loses it will be his inability to convey nuance in his positions and his asshole personality. Harris/Biden will be an abject disaster if they carry through on their platform. I’m watching CNBC and they are pimping lockdowns in the future. The 30’s take two. I’m thinking more and more a urban/rural split in the country is coming. We no longer have enough in common to stay together and those of us in the sticks won’t put up with what the progs have in mind. Hopefuly it can be accomplished with no violence.

        1. ^^^^

          This is about a perfect summary.

          Glad we’re almost retired–one more term with a Republican Senate should get us over the hump there. Glad we’re way out in East BF. Glad we’re soon going to be off-grid re: electricity.

    3. With Regal Cinemas and Cineworld shuttting down, it’s good to see you’ve purchased up their excess capacity for projection.

    4. Sexism
      RUSSIA!
      ???
      PROFIT!

    5. Yup that is exactly what’s going on. They think they are going to lose if the election were fair, so they are trying to create enough doubt and throw enough sand in the air so that the PERCEPTION is that the election was unfair and Team Trump was “robbed”.

      The problem is, this type of strategy has long-term negative consequences. What do they think the net result will be by destroying trust in the integrity of the voting system itself? Do they think they will win more votes in the future if they deliberately create the impression that Republican votes aren’t going to be counted?

      1. And you think there’s none of that on the other side, that the PERCEPTION is that the election was unfair and Team Biden was “robbed”? They’ve been complaining for months about different ways people’s votes are being “suppressed” and will ride that horse kicking and screaming if Trump wins.

    6. Meanwhile the left is spinning tales of 25th Amendment dreams; another impeachment effort because he dared to nominate a replacement for Justice Ginsberg; that Trump will fail to relinquish power if (or “when” if you believe the left) he loses; that Trump’s victory is tainted by voter suppression if he wins; that they will keep counting votes well after election day no matter how many they need, they will find them!

      I hate to be a “both sides suck” guy, but it’s the truth.

  14. I typed in “kamala harris willie brown” to see what search suggestions I would get – a wiki page and an article with a headline so obscene I can’t quote in in this here family blog.

  15. “Hunter Biden” also produced some results unfavorable to Dems.

  16. It’s really simple. We know silicon valley leans hard left and doesn’t believe in 1A. We know that only conservatives get targeted initially. Other fringe groups only get shut down in response to criticism to maintain the appearance of fairness, like the recent takedown of Nation of Islam on YT. We’ve seen Twitter and FB’s “fact checks” and intentional mislabeling of the President’s posts as misinformation.

    Is govt the solution? Of course not, we’re libertarians here. I would much rather prefer that people vote with their wallets and just stop using these horrible services. The problem is that you really can’t stop using them without facing significant consequences. The loss of reach by not being on YT, Twitter, FB, etc. is massive. This is why some people make the public forum argument and want to reform section 230 from the CDA. I think most people agree that it’s a good idea not to have platforms be responsible for the content of their users. I think people are also starting to realize that it’s also a terrible idea for platforms to have a blank check on how they regulate their users as well. It violates the spirit of the law to say “we won’t hold the platforms liable because we want free speech to thrive” while also tolerating platforms who wantonly censor free speech.

    Time and again, we give people the freedom to abuse others’ freedom. Abuse of freedom has never been nor ever will be an argument to further violate freedom. We permit 1A even though people say horrible things to one another. We permit 2A even though some people commit crimes with guns. That’s why this is called a culture war. We’re still fumbling through it, trying to find the correct remedy, but the fundamental problem that has made people understandably angry is that we say we care about one thing and then don’t care when people destroy what we care about, so long as it was private citizens and not the government’s doing.

    The problem with the typical libertarian approach to not interfering with private life is that these attitudes are not exclusively private. Are we supposed to pretend these people don’t vote? That they don’t vote for statists who want to codify their culture in the law?

    This is why cuck is such a popular insult in 2020. I don’t want to use the force of govt, but how exactly do you propose we fight a culture war that we’re losing because we explicitly refuse to codify our values in law? It feels like America is slowly killing itself and Trump was the first time anyone stood up and seriously fought back.

    1. Largely agree except on the use of government. Google, Facebook, etc are committing fraud in order to justify shutting down people’s accounts. Facebook’s TOS is so vague there little means for a user to make sense of what is and not acceptable and the company can make up the rules as they go along.

      If tech companies are going to commit fraud, the government has a right to step in to stop it. Antitrust lawsuits and investigations are the appropriate means or retaliatory force to use. I say “retaliatory” because since tech companies in question have allied with the Left that means they support the aggression they’re committing against conservatives and libertarians.

    2. Silicon valley not only leans left, it is consciously totalitarian

  17. Even if the search engine were 100% unbiased, the results would still be biased if the underlying media it is searching are biased heavily one way, as they are in the USA.

    1. This is an excellent point.

      If Google says tomorrow, “FINE… we will try to prevent MSNBC from being the top result every time,” and the result is that 1/3 of the time it’s MSNBC, 1/3 it’s CNN, and 1/3 it’s NYT… what really changed?

  18. “We wish to make one thing perfectly clear…we are not (vote Biden) trying in any way to send subliminal messages (vote Biden) to our users, and we denounce the (vote Biden) conspiracy theories being promoted by irresponsible elements (vote Biden).”

  19. That people have to use other sites like Bitchute alone shows how dumb the writer of this article is if he can’t find any evidence of political pressure from Google.

  20. I don’t think there’s really any question that google rigs search results. I’ve often gone looking for (politically fraught) things that I know are out there, because I’ve read them before, and just neglected to bookmark them. I know how to write a search string, too.

    You try to find them on google, and if they’re even in your search results, they’re buried 10 pages deep. You switch to Bing or Duckduckgo, and, first page.

    While if I’m doing searches that aren’t politically fraught, google is somewhat better than the alternatives.

    It’s not uniform, but apparently somebody at google gets a bug up their rear about something, they blacklist results relevant to it. And, yes, Google does maintain blacklists, though they’re rather quiet about it.

    1. Which is why you should just set your browser to DDG in the first place.

    2. Former Google senior software engineer Zach Voorhies gave to the DOJ almost 1000 pages of proof that Google deliberately and secretly manipulated search results for political reason.

      Epstein is not the only one calling out Big Tech for trying to suppress speech and change votes.

  21. Come on. Has any normal human ever seen anything without already believing it?

  22. Ironically, the article itself uses “Republicans seize” in the deck.

  23. You admit there are no obviouis flaws in his design. He is a liberal Democrat so he has nothing to gain by pushing this information out there. More likely it will cost him in both the long and short term. But you don’t believe him and find other folks who will say so. You lost all credibility when you said something to the effect that conservatives claim there is bias against them by tech companies and social media sites. If you’re too stupid to that there’s no point going further. Did you ever notice how all of their honest mistakes only go in one direction?

  24. This could have been a really interesting article about whether mass manipulation is actually a threat to individual liberty or not – even coercion – regardless of whether that occurs by the private sector or gummint.

    But it wasn’t. Because the authors chose to make it about partisan politics and the usual idjits here triggered themselves into approving of even brainwashing as long as the lesser evil is doing it. DeRp is fucking poison

    1. Shouldn’t you be hiding under your desk waiting for the hydrogenCovid bomb to drop?

  25. Go to Google and search for “American Inventors” or “Historical European People”, note the results, and then do an image search of same, it’s even clearer there.

  26. “proposed legislation that would largely eliminate the speech protections in Section 230, allowing the government to punish tech companies if officials were to deem a user’s post unacceptable” — I thought Section 230 protects tech companies from private lawsuits, not from punishment by the government? 1A does the latter.

  27. Yeah I’m sure Google is completely nonpartisan, disinterested and doesn’t try to flex it’s market share in any way to influence elections. They are perfect saints.

  28. Big Retch is the factor in this election. God’s Own Prohibitionists would rather lose than stop trying to force-feed Totalitarian Temperance at gunpoint. As in 1920 people shoot back. And as in 1930 voters are backing newer party planks. Vomiting up fascist prohibitionism improved the economy after 1932. For now, voters see two (2) platforms that say NO PRISON term for plant leaves, no asset-forfeiture crashes, and expungement of nazi tattoos. Hello Nuremberg 2020!

    1. You really care a lot about recreational drugs, don’t you?

  29. while the tech giants definitely do use bias in their censorship and promotion, i don’t think this actually impacts anyone’s decisions. the tribalism has gotten to the point where most people discount anything that does not support their confirmation bias.

  30. No more than Russian’s secretly manipulated people into voting for Trump in 2016.

    1. Argh. My kingdom for an edit button. Delete apostrophe.

    2. There’s an easy test for that. Do you believe Hillary Clinton was at death’s door, killed Seth Rich, or is involved in a pedophile pizza ring? If you answer yes to these or any number of other falsehoods, or if you had a vague feeling about her corruption that didn’t match any objective facts, you done been influenced.

      1. Oh, that’s cute: you actually believe that people didn’t vote for Hillary because of a bunch of conspiracy theory that people trolled you with.

        People didn’t vote for Hillary because her political ideas are bad, because it was clear that she was just going to continue Obama’s bad policies, and because she has all the personality and charm of a dirty toilet brush.

      2. You probably believe she wasn’t tossed into a van like a side of beef when she couldn’t walk unaided.

        I wouldn’t say she was at death’s door, but she clearly did have some medical problems she didn’t want to publicly acknowledge, probably related to her prior concussion. Can take a long while to completely recover from those.

  31. This is my last election voting as a Libertarian. The support here for oppressive destroyers of liberty is overwhelming. Google is the most Orwellian single entity in the world.

    Reason seems to have gone Never-Trumper like Drudge: “To hell with what we believe, Orange-man Bad!”
    I will never forget how hard I laughed when I heard Bill Maher declare he was a Libertarian. It seems there are a lot of people like Bill Maher writing for Reason.com and claiming a libertarian ideology. As if the only liberties they believe in is LGBTLMAO agenda, open borders, abortion, the freedom to riot and the right to cancel people who don’t agree with their kind of fascism. And, in this case, the freedom of massive corporations to force people into thinking Woke. I’m not laughing now.

  32. Is this author serious? He can’t be serious.

    There was a time when they only engaged in shadowbanning wrongthink. Now, they are open and even PROUD of doing it.

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  34. I don’t see it as a high-tech problem. I see it as a west coast, northeast-beltway corridor problem, just as it’s always been. Google just makes it more acute.

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