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Search Engine Ethics

            Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989, about 20 years after the first connection was established over what is today known as the Internet (WebFoundation.org). Over the years, people around the world have come to find the World Wide Web very useful, making it a widely used resource today, from posting information in the web to accessing and making use of that information. Search engines are a great example. They are software systems designed to search and obtain information from the World Wide Web.
             The definition of a web search engine made by Halavais (2009, 5–6), is "an information retrieval system that allows for keyword searches of distributed digital text." Without a doubt, there is bias in search engines. Couvering, in her abstract describes this as "bias that invites users to click on links to large websites, commercial websites, websites based in certain countries, and websites written in certain languages." This paper focuses on the ethics and principles that have been long involved in search engines.
             Most web or Internet users know about the importance of search engines. Many of us now depend on them to find various information relating to our daily activities, from sports to school to entertainment to work etc. It is the benefit of these search engines that has created arrays of ethical concerns. Search engine bias has been used to describe three distinct, albeit sometimes overlapping concerns: (1) search-engine technology is not neutral, but instead has embedded features in its design that favor some values over others; (2) major search engines systematically favor some sites (and some kinds of sites) over others in the lists of results they return in response to user search queries; and (3) search algorithms do not use objective criteria in generating their lists of results for search queries (Plato.stanford.edu).
             Search engines should be neutral, impartial and produce results based on relevance.

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