MOSCOW, November 27. /TASS/. Google has responded to a request from Russia’s media watchdog, the Federal Service for the Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, to clarify its plans to change the algorithm for the delivery of news content for Russia’s RT television channel and Sputnik news agency, the watchdog reported on its website.
"In response to your letter, we’d like to inform you that by speaking about ranking of web-sources, including websites of Russia Today and Sputnik, Dr. Eric Schmidt was referring to Google's ongoing efforts to improve search quality. We don’t change our algorithm to re-rank individual websites," the statement said.
The Motherboard.Vice.com website, which quoted’ Schmidt’s statement on the issue at the Halifax International Security Forum, noted that Google’s plans to lower the ranking of the aforementioned Russian websites are linked to "Russian propaganda." According to Schmidt, the corporation is working to identify such scenarios and lower the ranking of such websites. Schmidt noted, however, that he did not want to ban certain websites and was opposed to censorship.
On November 21, Russia’s media watchdog sent a query to Google’s office in Russia asking to clarify their understanding of the term "ranking" regarding the RT and Sputnik news content in light of Schmidt’s statements. Its head Alexander Zharov stressed at that time that the media watchdog will protect Russian media outlets and will assess how discriminatory the ranking will actually be.