Published: Wed, November 22, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Google: 'No Concrete Plans' to De-Rank Content of Russian Media

Google: 'No Concrete Plans' to De-Rank Content of Russian Media

Schmidt, who joined Google in 2001, said that the company's algorithm was capable of detecting "repetitive, exploitative, false, and weaponized" info, but did not elaborate on how these qualities were determined.

When asked why Russian-backed sites enjoy favorable placement on Google's platforms, Schmidt said, "We are working on detecting this kind of scenario ... de-ranking those kinds of sites".

The move would downgrade stories from the Russian state-sponsored news organizations in Google search results.

RT's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, issued a statement saying that Google's own internal review system had found that the news site had broken no rules.

The Executive Chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, said the search engine giant will make news articles from Russian-funded news sites hard to find on its platform.

He then named two of Russia's biggest media outlets: RT, a TV and online news organisation, and Sputnik, an online media network.

During the discussion, Schmidt claimed that he was "very strongly not in favor of censorship", but said that he has faith in "ranking" without acknowledging if the system might serve the same function. "It's what we do", Schmidt added. "Also we don't change our algorithms to re-rank individual sites", the representative said.

Russia Today and Sputnik slated the "deranking" plan.

The Russian telecom regulator said Tuesday that it will retaliate against Google if the search giant lowers the search ranking of the Kremlin-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik, escalating a tense back and forth over Russian news coverage that has entangled American news bureaus overseas and could lead Moscow to enact further censorship rules.

Google's move is the latest twist in Silicon Valley's response to alleged Russian interference in US politics.

The comments drew an angry response from the two publications, which have always defended themselves as legitimate news organisations.

In September, Facebook said that it had uncovered $100,000 in fake ad spending tied to Russian operatives during the 2016 US election cycle.

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