DuckDuckGo now engaging in censorship

PSA. Not trying to start a political thread here, just spreading information so that everyone is aware.


There is a war going on. The first casualty of any war is truth. Every side spins the events to reflect a positive slant.

This is so disappointing that DDG thinks that they can be the judge of which propaganda is visible. IMHO that’s not their job.


23 posts were split to a new topic: Search engine alternatives

My thoughts exactly. Only in hindsight will we be able to determine what was true or not. In the meantime, censoring one kind of “false” information only let’s all other false information rise to the top.



I would say I am largely a “free speech absolutist” even when I don’t like what I hear. I don’t agree with a lot of speech out there but I don’t see myself as the arbiter of morality or what who is right. I think that is something the individual should decide for themselves. That said, I do hold some very dear and personal beliefs but I will never impose them upon anyone else.

Where I do get concerned is when there are events in the world and the propaganda machine drives at full-steam to control the conversation. I personally would prefer I be given all the points of view and allow me to decide for MYSELF what I believe to be true from my personal cultural view of the world. To talk about freely and air the bad ideas is always the best method for getting to the truth.

I worry about what the invasion of privacy combined with censorship will do to society. I don’t think it is anything good, ultimately. Though, I do believe in a moral universe so good wills out, ultimately, even if I don’t see it in my lifetime.


Well stated, my friend.

With the attack on Ukraine, censorship efforts by Russian authorities are in the full force. Spreading truth about the events can result in jailtime. Putin not only controls the media, but also owns organizations dedicated to spreading disinformation of social media outside of Russian borders.

Is blant propaganda used to justify pointless killings free speech? Why are we mad at DDG adding to effort to stop Russia’s censorship machine? This is step forward truth and freedom. Not against it.

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Because a search engine should only provide the information it indexed and not judge it’s veracity. DuckDuckGo should not start deciding what is good for us and what not. At a next event, they might decide to “censor” other information. You may agree or may not, but DuckDuckGo decides in this case what you can find.

This is step forward truth and freedom.

This is your personal opinion. Instead of hiding propaganda, we should explain why it is wrong and let people decide themselves. This is the point and the correct way.


This is a slippery slope argument. DDG is open about its fight with authoritarian propaganda. This situation is nothing like some imaginary scenario in which they would put themselves as holders of all truth.

Also, it’s worth noticing that even outside of this situation, search engine must be a judge to some degree. There are ways to unfairly position website using spam bots and other methods. Not doing anything about it wouldn’t be showing all results equally. Instead it would give more for those who already have means and are wiling to cheat.

The disinformation crisis shows that this approach, has some serious problems.
When we have some people discussing ideas it’s mostly great, but that’s not the case here, isn’t it?

Putin’s propaganda didn’t start as a real opinion. It was a fabrication not actually believed by those who created it. And it didn’t spread by natural means, but by people paid to spread it. It’s not exactly a fair exchange of ideas when one of the sides has troll farms and controls media of a country.

I’m not going to say, blocking those kind of messages is the perfect solution. Personally I’m more into fighting disinformation with information, but making up a lie takes few minutes, while fact-checking it is a slow and difficult process and I personally know people who lost to those lies and no amount of correcting is going to work. So I’m not gonna get mad at DDG for fighting propaganda designed literally to justify killing people.

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A search engine should do just that. Search and show results. There are indeed many ways to fool a searche engine and get your page at the top. But in the end, it should be the human that makes the decision on what’s what, not the algorithm or programmers. Information, any information, should be free for all to see.
I’ll decide for myself what i think is fake news or not. Right now, everybody’s implementing propaganda. On all sides. A search engine shouldn’t have to filter, but show it all. That way, you get all the information available. Maybe too much, but better that than curated things.
My 2 cents.

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Do you have a citation?

Just from my quick research this seems to be a research partnership, not a user data sharing partnership.

“In this context, Qwant remains in control of its technology, including its algorithm, index and client infrastructure, without collecting personal data, to better secure the privacy of its users and the confidentiality of their research.”

Qwant and Microsoft announce an exclusive partnership for a unique Internet research experience - Microsoft News Centre Europe

Being open source offers zero guarantees that meddling isn’t taking place. It’s configuration, local adjustments and what it’s partnered with are completely unknown and they can all introduce bias.

For example someone could simply block all traffic from a particular GeoIP range and even say “it’s for security reasons” but the effect will be the open source crawlers don’t even see the information to crawl it.

This last argument I don’t fully agree with but I think it has some merit:

Open source interpretation of results are also vastly easier to game. Now that’s a dangerous argument to make because it’s similar to saying security software should be closed source to make it harder to break but I think the difference is security “just” has to protect a narrow range of use cases so it’s perhaps doable to lock it all down where as search rank interpretation is a boiling mass of constant evolution. (at least a lot more so i’m imagining)

Mark Zuckerburg would agree with you. This is not a slippery slope argument. I don’t accept a search engine that decides what political message is correct and what is wrong. I want decide myself and don’t let a few people and algorithm decide for millions of users. DDG is a search engine that should provide everything I search and not fight with authoritarian.

And spam bots is a different topic. The judge if something is spam has nothing to do with filtering political messages because they think it is the right thing for us.

The disinformation crisis shows that this approach, has some serious problems.

Yes, just like any good thing has it’s problems. I take the freedom to decide what political message is correct over an AI or people who decide what is correct. A search engine controlling political messages and therefore what the entire population is allowed to see is not acceptable in my books.

I’m not going to say, blocking those kind of messages is the perfect solution.

I would understand if the search engine only blocked those message coming from that country. It wouldn’t be perfect either, but less evil.

In example in Germany we are not allowed to show the nazi swastika or Hitler in a good light. Imagine DDG would agree with that political statement of Germany and not show you anything of it, because it is their opinion the right thing. Once this line is crossed, how can we trust it anymore in the future? What if they change their opinion and show different results? I don’t want that.

Flat Earth is also disinformation, but is still allowed. And that’s a good thing.

@Ulfnic Yes, the big citation in the reply, it is literally in their privacy policy with the section title “Why are you transferring data to Microsoft, and what data is it?”:

In order to detect fraud, Qwant uses a specialized service offered by Microsoft, which does not have access to the keywords of your search. Only your IP address and the browser (your “User Agent”) are communicated to this specialized service to calculate a fraud probability score.

You’re right, it’s not fantastic and it’s worth learning more.

The devil’s in the details though. It’s one thing to share detailed pseudonymous info about a user (what I poorly phrased “user data”) that could potentially reveal their searches if reversed by combining with aggregate data. It’s quite another to share limited information that could possibly be near-irrelevant even if it wasn’t obfuscated.

I don’t know which one it is but that’s going to take some digging.

One’s freedom ends where another one’s begin. Putin’s propaganda is a tool of massive censorship and ani-freedom and as such should not be protected.

Imagine I want to have the freedom to decide myself and do my research, because I do not trust DDG or you. But I can’t because DDG already filters out and decided for me. Such a massive censorship and ani(anti?)-freedom should not be protected.

This is the crux of it. People don’t want you to decide for yourself if, in any way, your decision was derived from unpopular sources/information. The problem is that we don’t know what is true right now. It could turn out that what we told everyone was “disinformation” could have been closer to truth than what we were allowed to see. We just don’t know and may never know, especially if half the story is being suppressed.

True, like I said, maybe a wide range of engines is better. Comes down to which Searx instance to use at that point. This is probably the way I’ll be going.

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But you do have this freedom. DDG is doing everything in the open. They are letting everyone know, so you can just use alternative source. Comparing your slight inconvenience in research to Russia’s actual attacks on freedom is borderline insulting to people being jailed for protesting and killed in this pointless war.

Also, why pretend there’s actual dilemma here? With slight exception of some alt-right weirdos, nobody takes idea of trusting Putin’s words seriously. Not because of being closed to arguments. Because of every single step and bluntly false excuse he made on the way. Long history of interference with democracy. Footage of protests being aggressively suppressed. Hospitals being bombarded…

But I don’t need to list all of this evidence. It’s a common knowledge, right? Am I wrong to assume people arguing have at least this basic understanding of situation?

These comments are becoming purely political and you’re looking for a fight. It’s a frustrating time but if you’re looking to test your ideas and encourage others to do the same that’s not going to work well.

This whole thread is 100% political. What do you expect?

No. I’m trying to understand position of people here, that’s why I explain my position.

That being said when @AiFromTheFuture responded to my point on Putin’s propaganda should not being protected by using exactly the same words but referring to DDG move, comparison was made to make look those situations symmetrical. This was in a very poor taste, given how terrible Putin’s dictatorship is and I’m not going to pretend otherwise.