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Google Says Won't Change Way Websites Ranked After Kremlin Complains

Google says that it will not change the way it ranks websites after Moscow expressed concerns the search engine might discriminate against Russian media.

Earlier this month, Russia's communications watchdog said it wanted the U.S. Internet giant to clarify whether it planned to lower search results for articles from Russian news websites Sputnik and RT, formerly known as Russia Today.

The request by Roskomnadzor came after Eric Schmidt, the president of Google's parent company Alphabet, was asked at a conference earlier in November about Sputnik articles. He said Google was working to give less prominence to “those kinds of websites,” as opposed to delisting them.

That prompted complaints from Russian authorities, with Roskomnadzor saying last week it would take action against Google if it discriminated against Russian media.

"We'd like to inform you that by speaking about ranking of web-sources, including the websites of Russia Today and Sputnik, Dr. Eric Schmidt was referring to Google's ongoing efforts to improve search quality," Google said in a letter posted on November 27 on Roskomnadzor's website.

U.S. intelligence agencies have said the websites of Russian state-funded Sputnik and RT spread misinformation.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS

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