Shaping the Web: Why the Politics of Search Engines Matters

Information Society, Vol. 16, No. 3

Posted: 3 May 2000 Last revised: 12 Oct 2015

See all articles by Lucas D. Introna

Lucas D. Introna

Lancaster University

Helen Nissenbaum

Cornell Tech; New York University

Date Written: July 29, 2006

Abstract

The design of search engines raises not merely technical questions but also political ones. Our study reveals that mechanisms guiding the most prominent search engines systematically favor (in some cases by design and in others accidentally) certain sites, and certain types of sites over others, thus giving prominence to some at the expense of others. Such biases, we argue, which would lead to a narrowing of the Web's functioning in society, run counter to the basic architecture of the Web as well as to the values and ideals that have fuelled widespread support for its growth and development. In considering ways to address this politics of search engines, we raise doubts whether, in particular, the market mechanism could serve as an suitable corrective.

Suggested Citation

Introna, Lucas D. and Nissenbaum, Helen F., Shaping the Web: Why the Politics of Search Engines Matters (July 29, 2006). Information Society, Vol. 16, No. 3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=222009

Lucas D. Introna

Lancaster University ( email )

Bailrigg
Lancaster, LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/lucasintrona/home

Helen F. Nissenbaum (Contact Author)

Cornell Tech ( email )

111 8th Avenue #302
New York, NY 10011
United States

New York University ( email )

New York, NY 10003
United States
212-998-5251 (Phone)

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