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DuckDuckGo down-ranks Russian disinformation and users aren’t happy

DuckDuckGo down-ranks Russian disinformation

A new report confirms DuckDuckGo is the latest tech company to employ new policy after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now confirming DuckDuckGo down-ranks Russian disinformation.

News that DuckDuckGo down-ranks Russian disinformation comes via its founder and CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, who confirmed the news on his personal Twitter account.

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

He added that “in addition to down-ranking sites associated with disinformation” DuckDuckGo will often put “news modules and information boxes at the top of DuckDuckGo search results” to highlight “quality information for rapidly unfolding topics.”

The search engine’s users aren’t happy, as many looked to DuckDuckGo as more of a no-nonsense, non-tracking, pro-freedom alternative to the other search engines that end up selling your goofy search history to advertisers.

“The replies on this are quite amazing. Can you see how swiftly most of your user base has been put off by this announcement?,” wrote one user in reply to the policy changes. “Loyal long time supporters are talking about abandoning the service. Please reconsider your stance on this. It’s a dangerous slippery slope for all of us.”

Another user said “This is not the way bro. We no longer trust anyone to decide for us what is ‘misinformation.’ Let us make our own calls about that.”

In the original announcement, Weinberg said DuckDuckGo’s mission has always been “to make simple privacy protection accessible to all” and that “privacy is a human right and transcends politics.”

However, when confronted by users upset at the new “disinformation” policies noting this is not the point of the search engine at all, Weinberg noted they never committed to anything outside a guarantee to privacy and not being tracked.

“The whole point of DuckDuckGo is privacy,” Weinberg said. “The whole point of the search engine is to show more relevant content over less relevant content, and that is what we continue to do.”

If you look at the replies to Weinberg’s original tweets, many users are unhappy with the new policy changes, which mirror similar “disinformation” policies on Facebook, Twitter, and other tech platforms.

In response to the policy changes and its founder seemingly refusing to listen to any concerns from users, many have already begun switching to other alternatives that guarantee both privacy and unaltered search results.

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