Russia Threatens Retaliation If Google Downgrades RT, Sputnik News Sites

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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" what the agency described as "possible retaliatory measures".

Google plans to "derank" Russian articles from media outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, following alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

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 USA election - company Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the Halifax International Security Forum on Tuesday.

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. We're well aware of it, we're trying to engineer the systems to prevent it.

On Saturday, Schmidt said Google is working to censor Russian government-funded news sites.

Schmidt then reportedly named RT and Sputnik.

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. "We didn't realize this could be so pervasive", he said, adding that the technology industry has been "naive". That's not how we operate.

How exactly Google plans to reduce the results RT and Sputnik, who has more than 30 websites in different languages, Schmidt did not elaborate, saying only that he personally is a supporter of the ranking sites.

"I am strongly not in favour of censorship".

Google does not manually assign rankings to individual websites, Faville said, but analyzes a website's attributes to automatically give it a position in results.

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

Sputnik on November 21 cited Roskomnadzor's Zharov as saying he would monitor "how discriminating this measure will be in its practical embodiment".

RT had received guaranteed ad revenue from YouTube until September, when the Google unit removed it as preferred partner.

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