DuckDuckGo reverses course, will downgrade Russian propaganda in search results

The DuckDuckGo search engine will be the de-ranking sites that spread Russian propaganda and disinformation. In a tweet, founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg wrote that the privacy-focused search engine will be releasing updates to ensure Russian disinformation sites rank deeper. in search results. Earlier this month, DuckDuckGo announced it would its relationship with the Russian state search engine Yandex.

Even if those are the right reasons, thumbing up the scale of search results is an unusual move for the Pennsylvania-based search company. Unlike Google and major social media platforms, DuckDuckGo skips filtering out misleading content on the internet. or . Some background Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram have begun to downgrade posts in Russian state media. Google has dropped of Russian state news agencies since 2017.

Known as a “privacy-minded” search engine, DuckDuckGo does not track its users or sell data to third parties. The company mainly makes money from affiliate links and . DuckDuckGo, often for digital rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and nonprofit newsrooms , has also been embraced by conspiracy theorists and far-right groups in recent years. Some marked in New York Times found that Bing’s search algorithm, which powers DuckDuckGo, shows more websites promoting conspiracy theories than Google.

Many DuckDuckGo fans search engine for its decision on Russia, likening it to “censorship”. It’s unclear if DuckDuckGo created a broader efforts to downgrade misinformation.

Weinberg did not detail in his tweet which Russian propaganda websites DuckDuckGo would target, or whether the search engine would target other types of misinformation, such as about climate change or Covid-19 or not. Engadget has reached out to DuckDuckGo regarding these questions and will update when we receive a response.

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