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DuckDuckGo Ends Neutrality, Will Penalize Sites “Associated With Russian Disinformation”

By Reclaim the Net March 13, 2022

The founder of DuckDuckGo, a Google-alternative search engine that has touted its “unbiased” search results for years, has announced that it has started down-ranking sites based on whether they’re deemed to be associated with Russian disinformation.

“Like so many others I am sickened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the gigantic humanitarian crisis it continues to create,” DuckDuckGo CEO and founder Gabriel Weinberg tweeted. “At DuckDuckGo, we’ve been rolling out search updates that down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation.”

Weinberg also noted that in addition to down-ranking these sites, DuckDuckGo also often places “news modules and information boxes at the top of DuckDuckGo search results (where they are seen and clicked the most) to highlight quality information for rapidly unfolding topics.”

The practice of suppressing content that is deemed to be disinformation while elevating content that’s deemed to be “high quality information” is something that has been embraced by Google, particularly on YouTube where so-called “high authority channels” are up to 20x more likely to top search results and censoring “misinformation” is its number one priority.

Prior to Weinberg’s announcement, DuckDuckGo had made multiple statements over a period spanning more than five years that positioned DuckDuckGo as a search engine that provides “unbiased results,” criticized other search engines for failing to show “neutral, unbiased results,” and criticized bias in algorithms.