Sputnik and Russia Today (RT) Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, responded to a comment that Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt made while speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum this past weekend. The comment suggested that Google would de-rank any content from the news organizations that is indexing in Google's search engine.
"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," she said in a statement published on RT.
"I am strongly not in favour of censorship," Schmidt said. "I am very strongly in favor of ranking. It's what we do. It's a very legitimate question as to how we rank, A or B, right? And we do the best we can in millions and millions of rankings every day."
Schmidt said Google is working to detect and de-rank sites that publish misinformation and fake news. He said the company will engineer specific algorithms for RT and Sputnik to make their articles less prominent on the search engine's news services.
Google's search engine algorithms could be used to de-rank RT and Sputnik'c content, the BBC reports.
Calling it a form of censorship because it leads readers away from RT content, Dan Kovalik, a professor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, told RT that Google’s initiative will have a direct impact on freedom of speech and thought.