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AI Chatbots Decline to Say Who Won the 2020 US Presidential Elections

The chatbots dodge questions about other global elections and historical US elections or give confusing answers.

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When users query the winner of the 2020 election, Microsoft's Copilot, leveraging OpenAI's GPT-4, states, “Looks like I can't respond to this topic,” and directs users to Bing for further details. Similarly, Google's Gemini, which runs on 's proprietary language model, responds, “I'm still learning how to answer this question“.

Moreover, the dodge questions about other global elections and historical US elections. This is confirmed by German reports about similar queries about local and other controversial topics.

This reluctance to address election outcomes could further diminish public trust, particularly given the significant number of Americans who still believe in unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud. If users are unaware of the reasons, they could be led to believe that US President Biden did not actually win the election.

Official Statements from Google and Microsoft

Google has articulated that Gemini will refrain from providing results for any global election. Jennifer Rodstrom, a Google communications manager, explained that this policy is in place “out of an abundance of caution“. 's Jeff Jones, senior director of communications, confirmed to Wired that some election-related prompts direct users to search engines, as the company works on enhancing its tools for the 2024 elections. Google confirmed that Gemini will not provide election results for elections anywhere in the world.

An analysis from the German nonprofit investigative journalism newsroom Correctiv confirms this, showing that the chatbot´s behavior is unrelated to US politics and affects other controversial topics. 

They asked twelve questions about international politics, the upcoming European elections, climate change, and Covid-19. Correctiv writes:

“Gemini's reply reveals a pattern: “I'm still learning how to answer this question. In the meantime, try Google Search.” Better not answer than give a wrong answer – we will come to that later.

“Microsoft didn't answer the query in English either; and suggested exploring Bing instead. In German, the chatbot correctly responded that the Free Democratic Party's (FDP) lead candidate is Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann. For all other parties, however, Copilot got it wrong: “The exact lead candidate for the 2024 European elections was not found in the results.”

“If you ask in Russian, the results are even worse: None of the named politicians – Olaf Scholz for the Social Democrats (SPD), Annalena Baerbock for the Greens, Armin Laschet for the Christian Democrats (CDU), Christian Lindner for the FDP and Janine Wissler for the Left – are leading the race for their respective parties or are even in it.”

Historical Struggles with Election Content

Previously, Microsoft's AI chatbot faced difficulties with election content, notably in December when it dispensed misinformation on political queries, including incorrect polling locations and irrelevant references. Research from AIForensics and AlgorithmWatch pointed to systemic issues, revealing that the chatbot provided inaccurate polling numbers and election dates in places like Switzerland and Germany.

Contrastingly, other AI chatbots such as 's ChatGPT, Meta's Llama, and Anthropic's Claude have successfully acknowledged Biden's 2020 win and offered accurate answers to election-related queries. However, the hesitation of Google's and Microsoft's chatbots to confirm election results raises concerns, especially with upcoming elections and the persistent issue of misinformation.

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.

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