Does Search Mean Bias?

November 7, 2018

As CEOs from Facebook, Twitter, and the like get paraded before Washington, one company has been suspiciously absent: Google. The search giant is in a tough spot and much of it stems from how uneven trust is in government for its product. We learned more in a recent Axios story, “Exclusive Poll: Big GOP Majority Fears Bias in Search Engines.”

According to the story:

“The survey shows that tech companies will have a hard time convincing the public that their algorithms aren’t built to favor any point of view, regardless of the reality. The distrust is driven largely by the right, but a significant minority of independents believe the results are biased toward the left, too.”

This lack of clarity and trust in Washington might seem laughable on the surface. But this epidemic of “fake news” could have real business implications for search and social tech companies. For example, the FCC is now looking into greater oversight into all three. If Republican lawmakers had trust in these institutions, you can bet they wouldn’t be cracking down as hard. Clearly, these companies have some PR work to do, and fast. Otherwise, they might be drowning in new regulations.

Patrick Roland, November 7, 2018

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