Dr. Robert Epstein, a psychologist, professor, and author, spoke about the impact big tech companies have on shaping the views of the American public, the world, and potentially, even our elections.
Epstein and his team, including 733 field agents, took a deep dive into how tech companies like Google utilize ephemeral experiences to influence views. His team essentially looked over the shoulders of their field agents to record and monitor what they saw on their computers’ internet pages. The field agents were a fairly even mix of registered Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
“Ephemeral experiences like search results or reminders on the homepage, or search suggestions, news feeds, they’re ephemeral. They appear in front of your eyes, they impact you, they disappear, they’re gone forever. No one can go back in time and see what these companies were showing people or saying to people on their personal assistant devices,” Epstein said.
They preserved more than half a million “ephemeral experiences” including search results from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook home pages, and YouTube sequences.