Due to search engines’ automated operations, people often
assume that search engines display search results neutrally
and without bias. However, this perception is mistaken.
Like any other media company, search engines affirmatively
control their users’ experiences, which has the consequence
of skewing search results (a phenomenon called “search
Some commentators believe that search
engine bias is a defect requiring legislative correction.
Instead, this Essay argues that search engine bias is the
beneficial consequence of search engines optimizing content
for their users.
The Essay further argues that the most
problematic aspect of search engine bias, the “winner-takeall”
effect caused by top placement in search results, will be
mooted by emerging personalized search technology.
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