More from Steven Johnson’s Salon article on weblogs: “There are significant political consequences to the Blogger Effect: Because the blogging community contains a disproportionate number of libertarians, it’s possible that Google searches on certain hot-button issues will start skewing toward libertarian-friendly pages.”
I wonder if that’s true. Is Google a Libertarian? What political affiliation is OSX? Windows XP? Linux? How about IBM’s software? Even the Internet must have a political affiliation with its peer-to-peer information-yearns-to-be-free do-whatever-you-want structure. If so, will the Internet change the way people view the rest of the world politically or will its politics change as society gradually modifies it from what it started out as to better reflect the world’s political views?
More on the politics of search engines in a paper by Lucas D. Introna and Helen Nissenbaum, Shaping the Web: Why the politics of search engines matters: “Our study of search engines suggests that they systematically exclude (in some cases by design and in some accidentally) certain sites, and certain types of sites, in favor of others, systematically give prominence to some at the expense of others. We argue that such biases, 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 the values and ideals that have fueled widespread support for its growth and development.”
Also related: Preferred placement, Knowledge politics on the web (review), Are Search Engines Biased?, Google Refuses Business from Gun and Knife Advertisers (letters), AOL’s “youth filters” protect kids from Democrats, Google Link is Bush League.
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