Russia threatens action against Google on Sputnik and Russia Today's search engine positioning

Russia threatens action against Google on Sputnik and Russia Today's search engine positioning

Russia threatened action against Google to prevent it from pushing down articles from Russian news websites Sputnik and Russia Today (RT) in the search engine by using special algorithms.

The Kremlin's move come after Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, announced to de-rank both the Russian websites. Twitter has already banned ads from RT and Sputnik over US presidential election meddling.

As reported by Interfax, Alexander Zharov, head of media Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor said his agency sent a letter to Google on Tuesday requesting clarification on comments made by Schmidt.

Zharov said: “We will receive an answer and understand what to do next. We hope our opinion will be heard, and we won’t have to resort to more serious retaliatory measures."

Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville told Reuters that Schmidt was referring to ongoing efforts announced in April to demote search results after Google conceded that it was used by Russia to spread disinformation in the US. The company said at the time it would work to highlight authoritative content.

Google's move is further the result of US intelligence community’s conclusion that both RT and Sputnik had been involved in trying to influence the outcome of the vote.

Google along with Facebook, Bing and Twitter recently joined The Trust Project to help users combat fake news.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.