When Internet Searches Are Biased

When Internet Searches Are Biased December 10, 2016

Do you understand how the internet works, and why search engines show you the answers they do? The underlying mechanisms are, quite likely, influenced by scary amounts of totalitarian agendas.

Photo in public domain from Pixabay.
Photo in public domain from Pixabay.

When I made my post about how citations are not a liberal agenda, someone linked me to what I think is a nice companion piece: Google, Democracy, and the Truth about Internet Search.

It’s an excellent article, worth reading in full. I especially like how the author interviewed a number of researchers studying the internet, and conveyed their insights about how much even Google searches are NOT a neutral, unbiased thing. As far as the rest of the internet, well, we’re still learning what it does and how it works. For example:

We don’t understand it. It is not bound by terrestrial laws. And it’s in the hands of two massive, all-powerful corporations. It’s their experiment, not ours. The technology that was supposed to set us free may well have helped Trump to power, or covertly helped swing votes for Brexit. It has created a vast network of propaganda that has encroached like a cancer across the entire internet. This is a technology that has enabled the likes of Cambridge Analytica to create political messages uniquely tailored to you. They understand your emotional responses and how to trigger them. They know your likes, dislikes, where you live, what you eat, what makes you laugh, what makes you cry.

Stay alert. Stay educated. I know I’ll be keeping my eye on this issue.

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