Google as a political subject: the right to be forgotten debate 2014-2016

Linnéa Lindsköld

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The aim of the study is to create knowledge on how Google and Google search are discursively constructed as a political subject suitable or not suitable for governing in the debate regarding the Right to be Forgotten ruling (RTBF).

28 texts are analysed using a Foucauldian discourse analysis focusing on political problematisations in the media and in blogs.

Google is conceptualised as a commercial company, a neutral facilitator of the world and as a judge of character. The discourse makes visible Google’s power over knowledge production. The individual being searched is constructed as a political object that is either guilty or innocent, invoking morality as a part of the policy. The ruling is framed as giving individuals power over companies, but the power still lies within Google’s technical framework.

The ruling opens up an empirical possibility to critically examine Google. The value of the study is the combination of focus on Google as a political subject and the individual being searched to understand how Google is constructed in the discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-783
JournalOnline Information Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Information Systems, Social aspects


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