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Filter bubbles and ideological segregation online: Do we need regulation of search engines?

Research project We search for information every day using Google and other search engines. The results we get influence what we believe about the world, including on sensitive topics such as climate change and immigration. A popular view is that search engines can lead to so-called filter bubbles: since search engines base their results also on what the user has been searching on before (“personalization”), there is a risk that the results confirm her prior beliefs.

Head of project

Erik J. Olsson
Professor, Lund University

Project overview

Project period:

2018-01-01 2022-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Psychology

Research area


External funding

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond

Project description

The policy issue at stake here is whether there is need for further regulation, due to personalization and filter bubbles. Our specific research questions are: (a) Does personalization in search engines actually lead to filter bubbles and how do we find out? (b) Given that filter bubbles exist, now or in the future, to what extent are they detrimental, individually or socially? Our first aim is to answer (a) using a novel empirical methodology developed in earlier work. Our second aim is to answer (b) through critical, philosophical analysis of relevant arguments and debates in the literature in relation to previous studies of ours.

External funding

Latest update: 2021-09-15