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Russia To Act Against Google if Sputnik, RT Get Lower Search Rankings (reuters.com) 192

Paresh Dave and Jack Stubbs, reporting for Reuters: The Kremlin will take action against Alphabet's Google if articles from Russian news websites Sputnik and Russia Today are placed lower in search results, the Interfax news service cited Russia's chief media regulator as saying on Tuesday. Alexander Zharov, head of media regulator Roskomnadzor, said his agency sent a letter to Google on Tuesday requesting clarification on comments Saturday by Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt about how the Russian websites would be treated in search, according to Interfax. "We will receive an answer and understand what to do next," Interfax quoted Zharov as saying. "We hope our opinion will be heard, and we won't have to resort to more serious" retaliatory measures.
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Russia To Act Against Google if Sputnik, RT Get Lower Search Rankings

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  • by Billy the Mountain ( 225541 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @05:27PM (#55598723) Journal
    Is this a new SEO technique? "Note to self: Ask the government to help me increase my page ranking"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @05:27PM (#55598725)

    The moment they started manually messing with search rankings in order to appease people they fucked up.
    They should have their algorithm and let the chips fall where they may.
    That way no one can accuse you of favoritism or whatever.

    • They should have their algorithm and let the chips fall where they may.

      Was the algorithm given by the God almighty himself and any tinkering with it is desecration? No. Ever since the early days people have tired to game The Algorithm and it had to be tweaked to counter it. All those tweaks are manual, be it in the algorithm itself or blacklisting. Do you really want to return back to the days where page relevance was determined only by how many other pages referenced it?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The algorithms themselves are heavily hand-tuned to prevent abuse. It's necessary because bad actors are also investing a lot of time and energy into finding ways to game the system.

      It's unavoidable when you opponent is another human. Spam filters are the same, they need human tuning to work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If the content comes from outside my country, maybe the content should be downranked. It's not just a Russia thing, it's a relevance thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It sounds simple, but who defines outside my country? RT America produces content in Washington DC, for example. If we choose to ignore Reuters because it's based in the UK, how do we feel about Rupert Murdoch owning News Corp?

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      If the content comes from outside my country, maybe the content should be downranked. It's not just a Russia thing, it's a relevance thing.

      The problem is, there are many times where the media *in* your own country won't cover something because of reasons. That happened an awful lot under the Obama(US), Chretien(Canada) and now under Trudeau Jr.(Canada). If you want to find what's really going on, it's almost required that you read opposition news media, or in some cases foreign news media. When I was a kid in the early 80's, I used to listen to USSR, UK, US and CDN media on longwave. That was the only way you got the full story on pretty m

      • Low ranking means less clicks = less money so itâ(TM)s the fake news scammers that will be hit by this, not actual information integrity. Someone interested in Tibetans can search âoeTibetan Ethnic Traitsâ -Wikipedia etc and find anything as before, meaning protesters are only those with vested interest in clickbait revenues.
        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Except we're talking about news. You seem to have missed the last ~8 years where the news media decided to go down the path of clickbait.

  • Google is big enough that if they were to "black hole" enough of Russia's systems, they would be effectively booted off the Internet.

    So long as it's not an actual government agency doing it, the various governments can just toss up their hands and say, "Hey, you pissed off a private company. Isn't capitalism great?"

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @06:28PM (#55599177) Homepage

      What the fuck, seriously what the fuck. You sound like a cultist that has drunk way, way too much google cool aid. Google is basically a web site that searches the internet and nothing more. First they started with do no evil and then the corporates took over and it was do evil all the fucking time. Basically either Google ponies up details or the Russian government kicks them out to favour Russian enterprises competing in the same area. To put it simply https://duckduckgo.com/?q=fuck... [duckduckgo.com] or the funnier version https://www.yandex.com/search/... [yandex.com].

      Google's number one marketing skill is self promotion. Scamming advertisers into believing they need to spend shit tons of money with Google to sell product and all based upon Googles research proving it, yep, uh huh. Google does only one thing well, self promote, sell the ability of Google to sell, reality is every one ignores googles ads, everyone skips youtube ads, google has very little influence in reality and that control, is the control over the people it sells it's marketing lies to, the real suckers spending billions on google ads that lead no where.

      Now you have the big shit at alphabet carrying on like they have the actual power, they pretend to for marketing purpose. I can't tell whether the big shit is gas lighting them or he believes his own marketing and hype and sees himself as a internet GOD.

      The internet connects people without people the internet is nothing. It is the people that give meaning to the internet. Google is shit, a big marketing scam, that has in the most pathetic cultist way started to believe it owns marketing. When google cuts off people it actually cuts itself out and the more people google isolates the more isolated google becomes. The reality is google has fuck all power and is the people's bitch, now suffering from delusions of grandeur and is going to get a rude awakening.

      • by m3mnoch ( 31838 )

        so, i think i agree with the black hole sentiment.

        how many .ru domains are there that make a living (both legal and illegal) off search results? how many "fake news" sites are there that originate in russia? how many email spammers live in russia? how many apps in the google play store originate in russia?

        if suddenly nobody can find any product or service that has an ip address in russia? if all of a sudden the largest email provider (currently with a billion users) blocks everything from russia? what

      • Another genious quoting "do no evil" from 1998.

        First they started with do no evil and then the corporates took over and it was do evil all the fucking time.

        What? A corporation seeking profits? Say it isn't so!

        the real suckers spending billions on google ads that lead no where.

        Yes, indeed. The people that spend hundreds of billions of dollars on advertising really don't know anything. They probably don't do any sort of studies or research to understand if they are throwing hundreds of billions of dollars down the toilet, because you know, they really hate money and don't care if they lose it. They should hire brainiacs like you to run they corporations. It'd save them hundreds of b

    • I doubt they have the courage.

      Going back years they "pin" RT's content on almost all of the Google News stories. Even if you're logged in and try to "personalize" the news to remove them completely, there will still be an RT link under most of the stories, with a headline claiming the opposite of whatever the story it is under says.

      Google probably rolled over on this one before the story was even published. They choose their battles, and this isn't one they even are going to admit exists.

  • by rossz ( 67331 )

    A good reaction to this demand is to set all the top search results for "Putin" to be related to organized crime and corruption.

    See who caves first.

  • Good!! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by benjfowler ( 239527 )

    When will Russia learn that they can't force us to acquiesce by issuing an endless stream of threats and lies?

    Google are absolutely going the right thing. Just as well, they can afford to.

    Putin can go and fuck himself.

    • When will Russia learn that they can't force us to acquiesce by issuing an endless stream of threats and lies?

      When it stops working.

      Google are absolutely going the right thing. Just as well, they can afford to.


  • Except that they wonâ(TM)t google canâ(TM)t stand to leave any money on the table no matter what they will end up having to do to get it.

  • The point is... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @06:39PM (#55599255)
    And this point stretches far beyond just this. Google, with their own corporate culture driven motives, is totally incompetent to focus on anything but the most absolute and fundamental core competencies of their business. This goes for everything under Alphabet. They have been doing a great job of screwing up all kinds of shit lately. They need to remember the core purposes behind their business's and stick with that. Stepping outside of these things in every direction is why I maintain they are they next business too big to fail. As they continue to try and be more than what they are, their fall will be one of those industry shaking overnight type deals. Give it till 2020, no later.
  • by RedK ( 112790 ) on Tuesday November 21, 2017 @07:15PM (#55599515)

    I'm looking at RT.com's front page right now. Everything looks semi-normal, no glaring "FAKE!" story, at least stories that go completely counter to what Western media is spouting. Taking a particular piece, about Lebanon's Hariri and the whole "quitting from Saudi Arabia" debacle of the last week :

    https://www.rt.com/news/410561... [rt.com]

    Comparing said story with the Washington Post's story on the same event shows near identical facts being stated by both outlets :

    https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

    So... what's the issue with RT.com's coverage ? Only the fact that it's state sponsered ? But by that token, so is PBS, BBC, CBC, ABC (the Australian ABC, not the American one!)... This all seems rather unfair and lacking any actual substance. It seems to be ... actual anti-Russian propaganda in a way. Maybe if Alphabet were a bit more transparent about their findings that led up to this decision. I mean, surely they're not just doing this based on the "Russian meddling" narrative, that's based on a report from a private firm like Crowdstrike... or worse... the Steele Dossier that's been proven false in many regards. And why are they not blocking Buzzfeed news ? Let's be real. Buzzfeed.

  • ...because I don't need it to decide for me what's propaganda/fake news and what's not. I just need the results to be relevant to my search terms. Yes I know that some results may be fake while relevant. But I'm an adult, I can deal with that. (Of course, it's their search engine and their right—that's not the issue.)

  • Different (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crass Spektakel ( 4597 ) on Wednesday November 22, 2017 @12:17AM (#55600915) Homepage

    One has to differ between these four "offizicial state media":

    1. Russia Today Russian Site
    2. Russia Today International Site
    3. sputniknews.com Russian Site
    4. sputniknews.com International Site

    All four usually deliver 80% of rather well written and researched. Stuff like "heavy rain damaged a road" or "prices for apples are up". Sometimes they even critizise single politicians. Not Putin and never the system for sure. You read rarelly about the opposition.

      It is the other 20% where things are getting interesting.

    1. and 2. usually reports whatever the russian goverment wants to get reported and do so in a mostly sincere way. They will not outright fabricate fake news or conspiracy theories but will gladly repeat these if the goverment came up with em. Most disputed content is given a heavy pro-goverment tone.

    3. and 4. are less strict about bullshit. You will sometimes read really lame fake news and strange stuff and they will not even stay clear of fabricating "alien abduction stories" and worse... also they often click traps like "war porn", "whataboutism" and such stuff.

    be aware: The russian and international edition often differ on subjects.

    How would they represent "fake moon landing"?
    1. "it happened but most parts have been overdramatized through selective media representation"
    2. "it happened but some parts have been rearranged through selective media representation"
    3. "there are many people and lots of evidence it never happened that way. Most americans don't believe it either.
    3. "there are some people and some evidence it never happened that way. Smarter americans don't believe it either.

    fun fact, there is a german public broadcast station sputnik.de targeting teens and tweens, broadcasting music and news from entertainment which gets mixed up a lot with sputniknews.com.

  • Putin will switch to Yahoo as search engine then.

  • And I'm sure that Yandex boosts the ranking of Google search results in their listings, since fair is fair.

How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb? Let's see, can you use a shell script for that or does it need a C program?