5 Technologies That Can Be Used To Manipulate Elections

As election year continues for many countries across the world, the use of tech ethically within democratic processes is being widely discussed.

Google’s recent move to restrict its AI chatbot, Gemini, from answering questions about global elections shows how concerned companies are around AI and its ability to spread misinformation.

The announcement was made ahead of the U.S. presidential election, to ensure all information gathered around candidates is as factual as possible. This decision shows the challenges AI poses, with its ability to create and manipulate images, videos and other forms of media to spread fake news.

Here, we take a look at 5 other technologies that can be used to manipulate elections.




Deepfakes use algorithms to create realistic video and audio recordings of people saying or doing things they never did. By mixing together old footage and audio, the technology is able to piece together realistic footage that never happened.

This is a significant threat to elections, as it makes it easy to spread misinformation and break down trust in political figures. Additionally, as people watch candidates more closely in the lead up to the elections, footage of them saying or doing anything malicious could sway votes.

As the technology becomes more advanced, our ability to recognise it reduces, making clamping down on Deepfake technology infinitely more important.


Targeted Programmatic Advertising


Targeted programmatic advertising uses algorithms to show political ads to specific people based on their online behaviour, demographics, and preferences.

Similar to how cookies show us products and services we might like based on our online history, programmatic advertising works much in the same way. This targeting can be used to spread misinformation and manipulate behaviour during elections. Moreover, the lack of regulation around political advertising makes it a prime target for anyone who wants to influence people’s vote.



Social Media Manipulation


Social media platforms have become battlegrounds during elections, with accounts spreading false information and amplifying fake news content.

With such a large audience across major social media platforms, these accounts are able to spread information quickly. Aside from Twitter’s new ‘notes’ feature, many social media platforms have very few rules around misleading content, making them dangerous tools around elections.


Fake News And Propaganda Websites


Almost anyone can start a new website these days, with very few rules and regulations around blog posting. This means that fake news outlets and propaganda websites can post freely, spreading disinformation, fake news and misrepresenting electoral candidate’s agendas.

These sites work by exploiting the online community to reach big audiences quickly. And with many eyes reading the content not viewing it through a critical lens, they can be effective ways to spread false narratives.


Social Media Bots


Automated accounts, or bots, on social media can help fake news spread quickly through manipulating the algorithm.

Typically, social media posts with more engagement get shown to more accounts. These posts appear in ‘trending’ pages, at the top of feeds and are suggested as accounts to follow.

Because of this, when a large number of bots engages with a post, it tricks the algorithm into thinking it’s popular. Aside from boosting certain viewpoints, these bots can harass people, start false discourse online and spread fake news.


As technology continues to play a role in politics, it’s important for companies and governments to safeguard against its impact.

Additionally, members of the public should be encouraged to view online content through a critical lens, seeking information only from reputable sources. By helping boost transparency and cutting down on the spread of disinformation, we can ensure elections remain fair and unaffected by the claws of technology.