The search engine DuckDuckGo has begun penalizing sites linked to “Russian disinformation” amid the Russia–Ukraine war, according to the company’s CEO.
“Like so many others I am sickened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the gigantic humanitarian crisis it continues to create,” Gabriel Weinberg, the CEO, wrote on social media.
“At DuckDuckGo, we’ve been rolling out search updates that down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation,” he added.
DuckDuckGo is also placing boxes with information at the top of the search results page “to highlight quality information for rapidly unfolding topics,” Weinberg added.
DuckDuckGo is an alternative to Google that has been growing in popularity in recent years in part because it doesn’t track users. Weinberg has in the past promised “unbiased results” as part of his pitch to people to switch from Google.
Some users quickly questioned the CEO’s update, including Tom Fitton, president of the Judicial Watch nonprofit.
DuckDuckGo, “contrary to its implicit promises to the contrary, is now in the censorship business,” he wrote on Twitter. “Are there any search engines that respect users?”