The search engine’s founder mentioned he was “sickened” by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The search engine DuckDuckGo will likely be down-ranking websites that unfold Russian propaganda and disinformation. In a tweet, founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg wrote that the privacy-focused search engine can be releasing updates that may guarantee Russian disinformation websites rank additional down in search outcomes. Earlier this month, DuckDuckGo introduced it could pause its relationship with Russian-state owned search engine Yandex.

Quite a lot of platforms, together with Meta’s Fb and Instagram, additionally reduce posts from Russian state media. Google has been downgrading search outcomes from Russia’s state information company since 2017

Generally known as a privacy-oriented search engine, DuckDuckGo doesn’t monitor its customers or promote knowledge to 3rd events. The corporate primarily makes cash from partnerships and non-targeted contextual promoting. DuckDuckGo, which recurrently donates to digital rights teams such because the Digital Frontier Basis and non-profit newsroom The Markup, has additionally acquired assist from conspiracy theorists and far-right teams lately. A collection of analysis highlighted in The New York Occasions has discovered that the search algorithm Bing that powers DuckDuckGo reveals extra web sites selling conspiracy theories than Google.

Many followers of DuckDuckGo criticized the search engine for its choice on Russia, likening it to “censorship”. It’s unclear whether or not DuckDuckGo will make a wider effort to down-rank disinformation. 

Weinberg didn’t element in his tweet which Russian propaganda websites DuckDuckGo would goal, or whether or not the search engine will goal different varieties of disinformation, similar to on local weather change or COVID-19. 

DuckDuckGo supplied Engadget with the next assertion relating to this modification:

The first utility of a search engine is to supply entry to correct info. Disinformation websites that intentionally put out false info to deliberately mislead individuals straight reduce in opposition to that utility. Present examples are Russian state-sponsored media websites like RT and Sputnik. It is also necessary to notice that down-ranking is completely different from censorship. We’re merely utilizing the truth that that these websites are participating in energetic disinformation campaigns as a rating sign that the content material they produce is of decrease high quality, similar to there are indicators for spammy websites and different lower-quality content material. Along with this method, for newsworthy subjects we’re additionally persevering with to spotlight respected information protection and dependable “instantaneous solutions” on the high of our search outcomes the place they’re seen and clicked probably the most. We’re additionally within the technique of fascinated by different varieties of interventions.