A high profile critic of Google, who accused the search engine of meddling in the 2016 election, has now suggested his wife’s fatal car crash was not an accident.
Robert Epstein, 66, said in July the internet giant’s methods ‘gave’ millions of votes to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.
In December he announced that his wife, Misti Dawn Vaughn, 29, died after her truck spun out of control along a road in California and into the path of a tractor-trailer.
On Sunday he tweeted: ‘Last year, after I briefed a group of state AGs about #Google’s power to rig elections, one of them said, “I think you’re going to die in an accident in a few months.” A few months later, my beautiful wife #Misti died a violent death. Makes you wonder.’
Epstein had earlier tweeted on January 4: ‘BTW, although losing Misti is devastating for me – there will never be another Misti in my life, after all – I AM STILL NOT SUICIDAL. Hear that, #Google? Hear that, #Hillary?’
He had earlier dismissed the idea that ‘#Google or #Hillary had anything to do with Misti’s death’, but seems to have changed his mind in recent days.
Epstein, a psychology professor at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, concluded that Google’s search methods ‘gave’ millions of votes to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.
In July, Epstein outlined his claims under questioning by Sen Ted Cruz of Texas, who had at one time been President Donald Trump’s chief primary challenger.
‘I know the number of votes that shifted because I have conducted dozens of controlled experiments in the US and other countries that measure precisely how opinions and votes shift when search results favor one candidate, cause, or company,’ Epstein testified.
Epstein testified that Google’s search techniques ‘shifted at least 2.6 millions votes to Clinton’.
Epstein said he analyzed 13,000 election-related searches from the campaign and that they were ‘significantly biased in favor of Secretary Clinton’.
He said he ‘conducted dozens of controlled experiments that measure how opinions shift when search results are biased.
‘I call this shift “SEME” – the Search Engine Manipulation Effect,’ he said.
Epstein claims the search results have an ‘subliminal’ effect on voters that he calls ‘online ephemeral experiences’.
Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, so Epstein’s theory gives the impression Google could have made the difference in the outcome.
However, even without getting into whether it is possible for a search engine to change individual voter preferences, Epstein testified that as many as 15 million votes could be impacted in 2020.
Epstein also claimed Google’s ‘Go Vote’ display gave an 800,000 vote advantage to the Democratic Party.
Google has denied the allegations and said it never altered its search results as a some elected conservatives now claim.
‘This researcher’s inaccurate claim has been debunked since it was made in 2016. As we stated then, we have never re-ranked or altered search results to manipulate political sentiment,’ Google said at the time.
‘Our goal is to always provide people with access to high quality, relevant information for their queries, without regard to political viewpoint,’ the company added.
About a month after his testimony, Epstein shared an article that claimed he had been ‘killed’ by a Google Street View vehicle.
‘And lots of you keep warning me that my life is in danger. I sure hope that isn’t true. Anyway, I was already killed by a #Google Street View vehicle back in 2014!’ Epstein wrote.
The tweet was accompanied by a link to the Huffington Post article that claimed he died on July 19, 2014, after being struck by the vehicle while crossing Front Street in San Diego.
On December 28 he shared in a heartbreaking tweet: ‘My beautiful wife Misti, a published poet, succumbed last night to injuries sustained in a car accident.
‘I was supposed to die in your arms some day, but a slippery road has ruined everything. You were not just my love, you were my greatest adventure.’
Misti, 29, lost control of her Ford Ranger along rain-slick on Interstate 15 in Escondido, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
When her truck spun out of control it crossed into the path of an oncoming big rig that was hauling two dump trailers, it was reported at the time.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Mark Latulippe told the news outlet that the 50-year-old driver of the tractor-trailer was unable to avoid hitting the woman’s truck and struck the passenger side of the pickup.
Moments later, a 19-year-old woman who was driving a Toyota 4Runner was also unable to avoid the accident in front of her and struck the Ranger.
The victim was treated at the scene for her injuries before being rushed to Palomar Medical Center. Both the big rig driver and the 19-year-old woman were uninjured.
Drugs or alcohol were not initially believed to be factors in the crash and a police investigation was launched. DailyMail.com has contacted CHP for the latest.