Search Engines, SEO and Ethics: The Need For Disclosure- Part 3

Scope: The Tool View of Technology Approach to SEO Ethics

This article series takes a tool view approach to technology, which stems from the work of Lukas D. Introna (2007). In this view, for Introna, tools are seen as objective and neutral ‘technical things’ (separate from us) that we can draw upon, or not, to achieve a particular end (2007). It is the human agent that brings the intentions (good or bad) to the equation.  The internet can be viewed in a similar sense as it can be viewed as a neutral technical medium that can be used for good (education, entertainment, business) and bad (crime).

For the purpose of this article series, I believe that it is not the SEO tactics or techniques that act with good or bad intentions (or ethical intentions), rather it is the SEO companies (and human agents in the organization) that decide to use good or bad techniques.  Therefore, the tool view will allocate all agency to the human players in this situation. For Introna, “its [tool view] understanding of the human/technology relationship is anthropocentric in as much as it is the human that does things with or by means of the neutral technical, capability – tools at the disposal of human ends” (2007).

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