In January 2013, while sitting at Google’s political innovation summit in New York City, it became very clear to me that Google would have the power to influence and affect the outcomes of national elections. According to Epstein, “Google has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide since at least 2015.”
But it becomes even more troubling when Epstein discussed the potential impact that Google, combined with Facebook and Twitter, could have on the election outcomes in 2020. “Big Tech in 2020, because if these companies all support the same candidate—and that’s likely, needless to say—they will be able to shift upwards of 15 million votes to that candidate with no one knowing and without leaving a paper trail,” Epstein said.
After six years of studying Google, Epstein’s solution for breaking up Google’s SEME is to make its index public, to make it into a sort of public commons to engender greater competition. I have argued that these tech companies must have their Section 230 exemptions removed and be redefined as publishers and telecommunications companies. And we have antitrust laws for a reason. The federal government has a role in breaking up what are, in fact, monopolies.