Google Deals Blow to Russian Propaganda Sites With ‘Derank’ Decision

Kremlin-backed media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik will fall lower in search results

Last Updated: November 21, 2017 @ 8:20 AM

Google doesn’t have time for Russian propaganda.

The search monolith is going to start “deranking” sites Russia Today and Sputnik — Kremlin-funded media outlets that have come under fire in the wake of the 2016 U.S. election — company Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the Halifax International Security Forum on Tuesday.

The move would bump the outlets down on Google’s search results, making it tougher for the sites to grab eyeballs. Schmidt added Google’s decision isn’t a matter of free speech versus censorship.

“I am strongly not in favor of censorship. I am very strongly in favor of ranking. It’s what we do,” said Schmidt.”It’s a very legitimate question as to how we rank, A or B, right? And we do the best we can in millions and millions of rankings every day.”

Russia Today and Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan wasn’t thrilled with Schmidt’s comments.

“Good to have Google on record as defying all logic and reason: facts aren’t allowed if they come from RT, ‘because Russia’ — even if we have Google on Congressional record saying they’ve found no manipulation of their platform or policy violations by RT,” said Simonyan in a statement.

Described by U.S. intelligence agencies as a “state-run propaganda machine,” RT had to register as a “foreign agent” last week with the Department of Justice. This came on the heels of Twitter banning advertisements from RT and Sputnik in October.