DuckDuckGo Manipulates Search Results Related to Russia-Ukraine Conflict to Fight ‘Disinformation’

“At DuckDuckGo, we’ve been rolling out search updates that down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation,” DuckDuckGo CEO says.

QUICK FACTS:
  • DuckDuckGo’s CEO Gabriel Weinberg announced on Twitter that his privacy-first search engine will be manipulating its search results to only show users what the company deems not to be “disinformation” about the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • “At DuckDuckGo, we’ve been rolling out search updates that down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation,” tweeted Weinberg.
  • Weinberg made a point to clarify whose side he’s on: “Like so many others I am sickened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the gigantic humanitarian crisis it continues to create. #StandWithUkraine️,” he said.
  • The move appears to contradict statements made on DuckDuckGo’s own homepage, which claims the search engine is a place to “escape the filter bubble of manipulated results.”
  • “One way the search results are different stems from our belief that your search queries should give you unbiased access to all available information, regardless of who you are, or rather, who the unregulated Internet thinks you are,” DuckDuckGo says elsewhere.
  • “Because we don’t know anything about you, and therefore don’t even have the capacity to alter individual results based on your search history, you also don’t have to worry about the ‘filter bubble’ on DuckDuckGo Search, which is the manipulation of your search results based on a personal profile about you.”
  • “We’re committed to unbiased search that’s never based on your search history, meaning we don’t hide certain search results from you,” DuckDuckGo says.
Screenshot from DuckDuckGo taken March 10, 2022
WHAT ELSE WEINBERG SAID:

“In addition to down-ranking sites associated with disinformation, we also often place 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,” Weinberg stated in another tweet.

BACKGROUND:
  • Podcaster Joe Rogan recently criticied search engines like Google for manipulating search results.
  • “If I wanted to find specific cases about people who died from vaccine-related injuries, I had to go to DuckDuckGo,” Rogan said. “I wasn’t finding them on Google.”
  • Ben Shapiro also has claimed that “Google is actively suppressing search results that don’t acquiesce to traditional viewpoints of the left,” adding, “I recommend you install DuckDuckGo on your computer, rather than Google, to combat all this.”