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Sustaining the Public Good Vision of the Internet: The Politics of Search Engines

Lucas Introna and Helen Nissenbaum
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Lucas Introna: London School of Economics
Helen Nissenbaum: Princeton University

No 53, Working Papers from Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies.

Abstract: This paper argues that search engines raise not merely technical issues but also political ones. Search engines systematically exclude (in some cases by design and in some accidentally) certain sites in favor of others, or alternatively give prominence to some at the expense of others. Such biases run counter to the basic architecture of the Web as well as the values and ideals that have fuelled widespread support for its growth and development. The paper considers ways of addressing the politics of search engines, raising doubts whether, in particular, the market mechanism can serve as an acceptable corrective.

JEL-codes: Z11 L86 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1999-10
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