Proceedings of The 5th International Conference on Research in Social Sciences
How the autocomplete function influences our opinion making and whether this is unlawful from a German law perspective
Paulina Schindler, and Lennard Lehmann
The autocomplete function in search engines can make the search process easier for users. However, this function can also influence the opinion formation of an individual and thus also of society. The technical implementation possibilities and possible limitations of the reliability of these search suggestions are presented in this paper. Subsequently, effects are presented which can have an impact on the user in connection with the autocomplete function of search engines. The possible individual and societal effects of autocomplete show that this function is suitable for influencing users. Due to its manipulability, this can also be done by third parties. A subsequent assessment of German law shows that this is not inadmissible. In order to nevertheless reduce influence over users and ensure diversity of opinion, increased transparency and supplementary regulatory provisions could be considered.
keywords: autocomplete, media influence, diversity of opinion, regulation, search engine.