Exploring the Search Engine Manipulation Effect: An IT Ethics Small Group Discussion

Last edited 282 days ago by Peter Sigurdson
The goal of this activity is to engage students in small group discussions on the ethical implications of the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME), using real-life examples from current events.
Students will develop critical thinking skills, learn to identify potential ethical concerns, and create a presentation to share their findings with their classmates.
Divide the class into small groups of 3-4 students.
Assign each group one of the following 10 topics related to the Search Engine Manipulation Effect and current events:
The role of search engines in shaping public opinion during political campaigns
The impact of search engine algorithms on the spread of misinformation and fake news: DEEP FAKES.
Search engine bias and its effect on marginalized communities
How SEME affects consumer behavior and market competition
The ethical implications of personalized search results and filter bubbles
Search engine manipulation in the context of privacy breaches and data leaks
The role of governments and regulations in addressing SEME
The potential for search engine manipulation in the context of AI-generated content
The effect of search engine manipulation on mental health and well-being
Ethical responsibilities of search engine developers and content creators to minimize SEME
Provide each group with a list of resources, such as articles, videos, and podcasts, related to their assigned topic to help them get started. Encourage groups to conduct additional research as needed.
Instruct each group to discuss the ethical concerns surrounding their assigned topic, focusing on the following aspects:
The significance of the issue in the context of IT ethics
The potential consequences and implications of the issue
Possible solutions or approaches to address the ethical concerns
Each group should create a deliverable (e.g., a PowerPoint presentation, a poster, Canva, or a short video) to present their findings and analysis to the rest of the class.
Allow for a Q&A session after each presentation, encouraging students to engage in a constructive dialogue and share their perspectives on each topic.
Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, students will be able to:

Understand the ethical implications of the Search Engine Manipulation Effect and its impact on society.
Commons of Value
Consensus and Social Contract

Identify and analyze real-world examples of SEME in current events.
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