University of Twente Student Theses


The manipulating effect of the Google search engine on users' ethical decision making

Schäfer, Rebecca (2018) The manipulating effect of the Google search engine on users' ethical decision making.

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Abstract:Search engines have made it possible for its users to find the most relevant answers to the questions that they are looking for. However, search engines like Google, personalise their search results, which means that users are only exposed to information that Google thinks is most relevant and cannot access all the information that is available online. This can lead to the case that a user is not exposed to contradicting views when it comes to ethical issues. To measure if there is indeed a bias on the Google search engine for ethical issues a survey was conducted that compared more than 100 search results of students of different nationalities for search queries related to ethical issues. This study measured how often search results were one-sided towards an issue being either ethical or unethical. The results show that on average the search results are significantly biased towards an action being unethical when considering the first four search results. This is the case for not only Google but also for DuckDuckGo, which is a search engine that does not collect personal user information Especially if an issue is not considered as being of high importance to individuals, personalised search engines could therefore influence user’s ethical decision making in the long term by only showing them one-sided search 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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