Should Google Always Tell the Truth?

What is Google’s responsibility to its searchers? In a Thursday panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Ashkan Soltani, the Federal Trade Commission’s chief technologist, offered a hypothetical that captured why that question is so difficult to answer.Before getting to that hypothetical, let’s assume that Google commits–whether formally or informally–to the notion that it has some responsibility to look out for its users. For example, if someone searches for the best way to drive from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, it will direct them to the fastest or safest route, not the route that takes them past an out-of-the-way fast food chain that paid off the search engine.

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