PDI Workshop Series: Search Media and Elections – Investigating Partisanship in Political Search Results

February 22nd, 2019 - 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Room 301, Crown Law Building 559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford , CA 94305

Note: This workshop is open only to faculty and scholars at Stanford University and other academic institutions, not the general public. 

Search Media and Elections: Investigating Partisanship in Political Search Results

Concern about algorithmically-curated content and its impact on democracy is reaching a fever pitch worldwide. But relative to the role of social media in electoral processes, the role of search results has received less attention. We develop a theoretical conceptualization of search results as a form of media—search media–and analyze search media in the context of political partisanship. Our empirical analyses use two data sets of URLs scraped from Google search queries for political candidates in the 2016 and 2018 U.S. elections. We examine whether search media are representative of the partisan characteristics of the media ecosystem from which they are constructed or whether they display systematic bias, as well as extending these ideas to examine the relationship of search media with election outcomes.

About the Project on Democracy and the Internet Workshop Series:

The Project on Democracy and the Internet organizes regular workshops, hosted by Nathaniel Persily, James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford, for scholars studying democracy in the digital age. The goal of this workshop series is to increase the sense of intellectual community and enhance the overall quality of research as we build this new field of study. 


  • - PhD Candidate, Computer Science, Stanford University