Google is getting pulled into a fight with Russia over RT and Sputnik

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 abroad and could lead Moscow to enact further censorship rules.

The agency’s remarks come after Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google's parent company, Alphabet, said that the company would de-rank the two Russian media outlets in its search results. Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum over the weekend, Schmidt said Google is working to curb misleading and exploitative content, as well as material that is likely to have been “weaponized” for nefarious purposes.

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Google plans to 'de-rank' Russia Today and Sputnik to combat misinformation
Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has said the search engine is preparing to take action against state-run Russian news agencies, including Russia Today and Sputnik, which are accused of spreading propaganda by US intelligence agencies.

“We’re working on detecting this kind of scenario … and de-ranking those kinds of sites,” Schmidt said, in response to a question at an event in Halifax, Canada. “It’s basically RT and Sputnik. We’re well aware and we’re trying to engineer the systems to prevent it.”

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