Companies Manipulating A.I. Systems for Competitive Advantage

Global Rush to Fund A.I.
March 10, 2020

Companies Manipulating A.I. Systems for Competitive Advantage

Lawmakers are not yet aligned on whether manipulating algorithms for competitive advantage meets the criteria for antitrust activity.

Amazon, Google and Facebook have all come under fire in the past few years for manipulating their search systems to prioritize results that are more profitable for their companies.

For example, Google has been accused of de-ranking websites and promoting news stories from preferred partners. Late in 2019 researchers found that Amazon had optimized its search algorithm to boost the visibility of Amazon’s own brands.

Tweaks to search algorithms have a significant impact on what internet users see, whether that is news, products for sale or advertising.

The U.S. and E.U. are currently investigating Amazon’s simultaneous roles as a search engine, marketplace operator and seller of its own products. Lawmakers are not yet aligned on whether manipulating algorithms for competitive advantage meets the criteria for antitrust activity.