At first, the founders of Google viewed their algorithm as an unbiased reflection of the Internet itself. He used an analysis called PageRank, named after co-founder Larry Page, to determine the value of a website by measuring how many other websites were linked to it, as well as how good those other sites were, in depending on the number of linked sites. their.
The philosophy was: “We never interfere with research in any way. If we start to interfere with the search results, we will become a one-sided clicker to a cured Internet, and we will no longer be neutral, ”said Danielle Citron, professor of law at the University of Virginia. Ten years ago, Citron hurry to Google to prevent “revenge porn” from appearing in someone’s name search. At first, the company resisted.
Google expressed its hands-off view in a 2004 Declaration in which he explained why his search engine appeared on anti-Semitic websites in response to searches for the word “Jewish”.
“Our search results are generated completely objectively and independent of the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google,” the company said in a statement, which it deleted a decade later. “The only sites we ignore are those we are legally required to remove or those that attempt to maliciously manipulate our results.”
Google’s early interventions in its search results were limited to things like spam and pirated movies and music, as required by copyright laws, as well as compromising financial information such as social security numbers. Recently, the company has reluctantly taken a more active role in cleaning up search results for people.
The most notable case occurred in 2014, when European courts established the “Right to be forgotten”. Residents of the European Union can request that information they consider inaccurate and irrelevant about them be removed from search engines.
Google fought the court ruling in vain. The company said its role is to make existing information accessible and that it does not wish to participate in regulating the content that appears in search results. But because it was established as a right, Google was forced to remove million links from search results for names of people.