DuckDuckGo creator Gabriel Weinberg says he is reversing the site’s core policy. Sites “associated with Russian disinformation” will now be intentionally downgraded.
“Associated with Russian disinformation” seems intentionally ambiguous so that it can mean as many different things as possible. Is the right-populist Tucker Carlson Show “associated with Russian disinformation?” Is the left-populist Jimmy Dore Show “associated with Russian disinformation?” Both ask serious questions about the US’s role in fomenting tensions, as well as the wisdom of economic sanctions against Russia.
Now that Weinberg has opened the door, it is very likely that he will continuously expand the kinds of content that will get “down-ranked.”
Google’s search results are heavily manipulated in two ways. First, advertisers sponsor keywords to get preferential treatment. Second, Google’s algorithms attempt to rank how relevant sites are to various keywords and phrases. DuckDuckGo was once considered an “alt-tech” alternative to Google, where no manipulation of the search results allegedly existed.
Weinberg has previously accused Google of inserting its own bias into the algorithms. Now he openly says he is inserting his own bias into DuckDuckGo.
Many fans of DuckDuckGo feel like this is a rug pull.