Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, says the company will “engineer” specific algorithms for RT and Sputnik to make their articles less prominent on the search engine’s news delivery services.
“We are working on detecting and de-ranking those kinds of sites – it’s basically RT and Sputnik,” Schmidt said during a Q & A session at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada on Saturday, when asked about whether Google facilitates “Russian propaganda.”
“We are well of aware of it, and we are trying to engineer the systems to prevent that [the content being delivered to wide audiences]. But we don’t want to ban the sites – that’s not how we operate.”
The discussion focused on the company’s popular Google News service, which clusters the news by stories, then ranks the various media outlets depending on their reach, article length and veracity, and Google Alerts, which pro-actively informs subscribers of new publications.
RT has criticized the proposed move – whose timescale has not been publicized – as arbitrary and a form of censorship.