Demanding Transparency in GoogleNews

Jeff Jarvis recently demanded more transparency in GoogleNews:

We’re demanding transparency of mainstream news.

Well, it’s high time we get transparency from GoogleNews.

Instapundit and LGF point to a nazi site — complete with “love your race” graphics — that is part of Google News, while mainstream sane blogs are not.

Enough.

Google: Release a complete list of your news sources now. And institute a means for questioning those choices and for suggesting other choices now.

Google: It’s bad enough that you won’t share information about ad revenue sharing. But not to share information about your means of selecting news sources is inexecusable… in this case, evil.

First, Google does have a means for “questioning those choices and for suggesting other choices.” Their FAQ includes links to information such as How do you decide what stories are published on the Google News home page? and What if I don’t see my favorite news source in Google News? You can also recommend a news source quite easily.

But more importantly, Jeff’s call for transparency assumes that GoogleNews is a public good. Google is a for-profit corporation, with no implicit responsibility to the public, only to its shareholders. (Of course, Google wants to provide useful news to its customers to encourage use of Google’s other for-profit services)

Jeff’s demand for transparency illuminates the fact that Google has become considered a neutral source for information, which it clearly is not.

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