University of Twente Student Theses


Exploring the Effect of Search Engine Personalization on Politically Biased Search Results

Martinovic, Mario (2018) Exploring the Effect of Search Engine Personalization on Politically Biased Search Results.

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Abstract:The internet has become a widespread tool for people to find political information. As a result of this, the neutrality of the results shown by search engines has been of increasing concern for the democratic ways of many countries. With the introduction of personalized search results, the so-called ‘’filter bubble effect’’ could result in users potentially getting results which only portrays one political side. We have used the results from 89 students who filled out our survey. We have found out that on Google’s search engine, more than 25% the participants had search results which were to some extent politically biased. However, no clear connection was found between personalization and politically biased results. Moreover, we discovered that DuckDuckGo isn’t as reliable as previously thought. DuckDuckGo states that if multiple users type in the same query, they should get the same results. Furthermore, DuckDuckGo should be clear of any political biases due to the fact that is provides results based on the semantics of a query and it doesn’t collect any data of the user. Nonetheless, over 67% of the results, for one of our queries used in the survey, turned out be politically biased. One should be well aware of the potential biases it may encounter in search engines, as the biases are not only existent in personalized search engines, they may also well be found in search engines which don’t personalize their results.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:International Business Administration BSc (50952)
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