Google to 'derank' Russia Today and Sputnik

Andrew Cummings
November 22, 2017

Interfax quoted Aleksandr Zharov, head of Russia's Roskomnadzor media regulator, as saying that his agency sent a letter to Google on November 21 requesting clarification of comments over the weekend by Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google's parent company Alphabet, in which Schmidt said Google is "working" the Russian news websites. Russia Today and Sputnik slammed the move, which they described as arbitrary and a form of censorship. I am very strongly in favor of ranking. U.S. intelligence services accuse the country of trying to sway the vote in favour of Donald Trump by spreading fake news and hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks in order to undermine Hillary Clinton. "But we don't want to ban the sites - that's not how we operate", Schmidt added. "Also we don't change our algorithms to re-rank individual sites", the representative said.

During the discussion, he was asked about the issue of Russian "propaganda outlets" being monetised through Google's "AdSense" programme, and the sites' content being ranked highly on the search engine.

Russian Federation does not appear to have taken drastic action after Twitter removed RT and Sputnik from its ad networks this year.

"We started with the default American view that "bad" speech would be replaced with "good" speech, but the problem found in the previous year is that this may not be true in certain situations, especially when you have a well-funded opponent who is trying to actively spread this information", he told the audience. Meanwhile, Google's own investigation reportedly had found no manipulation of its platform or policy violations by RT.

Russia Today and Sputnik slated the "deranking" plan.

Russian is in the process of making a law that would allow authorities to force any foreign media organisation to register as a "foreign agent" after RT was forced to register under a similar statute in the US.

Schmidt's announcement came in the midst of the ongoing investigation into the alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 U.S. presidential investigation.

Russian Federation denies meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

Other reports by iNewsToday