Senate lawmakers proposed bipartisan legislation that would require search engines to disclose the algorithms they use in ranking internet searches and give consumers an option for unfiltered searches.
Search engines such as Alphabet Inc. ’s Google unit use a variety of measures to filter results for individual searches, such as the user’s browsing activity, search history and geographical location.
Critics have increasingly complained about algorithms enabling online-search and social-media companies to determine the content users see, with some on the right claiming the result is a form of censorship because certain views may be excluded. The big internet firms generally have denied such claims and contend that using profile information gives users better-tailored results.
The proposed Filter Bubble Transparency Act would require big online search engines and platforms to disclose that they are using algorithms to sort the information that users are requesting or are being encouraged to view.
The bill would also require the online search engines or platforms to offer a relatively unfiltered version of the same information if users ask for it.
The bill was filed by Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) and is being co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
I called for something much like this in my The Social Media Upheaval. Glad someone was listening. My own senator, Marsha Blackburn, is a co-sponsor.