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But research I have been conducting with Ronald Robertson has shown that with its virtual monopoly on search, Google has the power to flip the outcomes of close elections easily – and without anyone knowing. Over time, they could change the face of parliaments and congresses worldwide to suit their business needs – keeping regulators at bay, getting favorable tax deals and so on. And because their business is unregulated in most countries at this point, flipping elections in this way would be legal.
Whenever a major source of influence is biased, with no possibility that opposing views will be heard, the impact of that influence is overwhelming.
At the moment, the Google search engine is a source of unopposed influence, which also happens to be highly credible, opaque in its methodology, massive in scope, rapidly increasing in reach and beyond the scrutiny or control of both regulators and candidates.
The point of this research is to save democracy – really. As long as an unregulated company has a monopoly on search, it has the power to make democracy as we know it meaningless.