Dinner Debate- October 2017

Do search engines have an obligation to provide free admittance to news websites, albeit a limited amount? Is it ethical to restrict the public's access to news by requiring them to pay for it? Furthermore, if search engines do not mandate news sources to provide free articles and content, does Facebook, Google, Yahoo etc. have a responsibility to limit the amount of free "fake news" by prohibiting the publication of articles written by non-reputable sources? What does this mean for censorship laws and free speech?

As technology continues to proliferate, news consumption has increasingly relied on websites and Internet sources as a primary form of publication/distribution. Search engines and Internet giants such as Facebook and Google play remarkably influential roles in providing access to this information - and recently Google announced that the company will no longer require news sources to grant a mandatory minimum on free articles for non-subscribers. Rather, news agencies will be able to independently determine whether or not they offer any level of free access to their content. This important question was addressed in our October 2017 dinner debate.

Jonathan Short