People left Google search because it was manipulating results. Now, DuckDuckGo is heading in a similar direction.
What happened: Last week, DuckDuckGo announced that they would start down-ranking Russian disinformation. While this may seem great, it is problematic for the following reasons:
- Defines disinformation: DuckDuckGo will determine what is disinformation and what is not; the same mindset that led to mass domestic censorship over the past five years.
- Cuts relevant information: Ideally, you want your search engine to show you the most relevant information. Down-ranking specific sources based on politics makes that impossible.
- Builds censorship infrastructure: DuckDuckGo building out its capabilities to down-rank searches means it will be able to do this again with other issues.
- Precedent and mission: What’s keeping DuckDuckGo from doing this with American politics? After backlash, DuckDuckGo’s CEO made it clear that DuckDuckGo is about privacy, not censorship-free search.
Why not Google: Google manipulates its search results to support its progressive partisan ties. For example, Google filtered search suggestions to benefit Hillary and Biden’s presidential campaigns. Google also suppresses many right-wing outlets like Breitbart.
A good alternative is Brave Search. It’s a relatively new search engine that’s still in beta but operates like DuckDuckGo without bias. We also looked at Start Page, but it’s simply Google search with more privacy.