QAnon People Devastated To Discover How Search Engines Work

This week, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg announced on Twitter that he opposes the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that "[a]t DuckDuckGo, we've been rolling out search updates that down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation."

Most people would consider that a good thing. Not having disinformation and blatant propaganda pop up when searching for information on current events is certainly convenient.



Far right conspiracy theorists, however, have gone right off the deep end, crying censorship and revealing that they really never knew how search engines worked to begin with. As you are probably aware by now, the QAnon right is very much Team Putin in all of this. The belief is that Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping are working together with Trump to "eliminate the New World Order." Not the wrestling association, the conspiracy theory.

For a long time, DuckDuckGo had been one of the preferred search engines of the far Right, owing to the fact that they believed the site did not "censor" results. Like, they really truly thought there were no site rankings and whatever came up was just entirely random. This, of course, would be very unhelpful and ridiculous. It would make it impossible for anyone to look up anything.

In the responses to the tweet, there were a lot of people whining that they should put the truth and the misinformation out equally and neutrally, and let them decide for themselves what they believe. Because sure, people who don't know how search engines work should definitely be able to discern the truth from bullshit.

There were, of course, multitudes of "DuckDuckGo has been compromised!" and "Where should I go, what should I do now that I can't use 'DuckDuckGo'" posts on a prominent QAnon site yesterday.

Some users announced their plans to switch to the Brave search engine (which also uses site rankings to determine what to show people first), but far more pushed for everyone to switch to Yandex, the other most popular search engine among internet kooks. Unsurprisingly, Yandex is based in Russia — which means Russian disinformation is prominently displayed in its search results. One of the first sites that comes up for any result is the Russian state-controlled "news" site Russia Today, which to these folks signals true neutrality.

One user was particularly delighted by the number of search results on the site for "Joe Biden dementia," because again, they want unbiased, neutral search results.

Yandex also happens to be the site conspiracy theorists used during the ridiculous "Wayfair is selling mole children in industrial storage units!" conspiracy to determine that the whole thing was part of an evil plot by known child-eater Tom Hanks.

To be clear, there's nothing wrong or "far right" about DuckDuckGo itself. It's a search engine that doesn't track your searches, unlike Google and Bing and other search engines. The fact that these idiots thought it was something it wasn't has nothing to do with them.

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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