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Google Deals Blow to Russian Propaganda Sites With 'Derank' Decision

22 November 2017

During the discussion, he was asked about the issue of Russian "propaganda outlets" being monetised through Google's "AdSense" programme, and the sites' content being ranked highly on the search engine.

Since U.S. officials blamed RT and Sputnik for having a role in Hillary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump in 2016, the news sites have faced opposition.

Google's plan to de-rank two Russian media outlets - RT and Sputnik - in its search results has prompted Moscow's telecom regulator to threaten retaliatory action against the search giant, media reported. US intelligence agencies have said both of the websites spread misinformation and published negative stories about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 USA presidential election. USA intelligence services accuse the country of trying to sway the vote in favour of Donald Trump by spreading fake news and hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks in order to undermine Hillary Clinton.

RT has been described by USA intelligence agencies as "Russia's state-run propaganda machine". I am very strongly in favor of ranking.

However, while he claimed the Russian disinformation strategy was easy to combat since it is based on "amplification around a message" of information that is "repetitive, exploitative, false, [or] likely to have been weaponised", Schmidt refused to ban the sites outright.

"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", Sputnik and RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said in a statement published on RT.

In October, Twitter said it will ban advertising from both sites.

Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have been heavily criticised for failing to crack down on state-sponsored misinformation online, which USA intelligence agencies claim may have influenced last year's U.S. presidential election.

Recently, RT was forced to register with the USA government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act or FARA.

Google Deals Blow to Russian Propaganda Sites With 'Derank' Decision