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Search engine manipulation to spread pro-Kremlin propaganda

Misinformation Review – Harvard Kennedy School – “The Kremlin’s use of bots and trolls to manipulate the recommendation algorithms of social media platforms is well-documented by many journalists and researchers. However pro-Kremlin manipulation of search engine algorithms has rarely been explored. We examine pro-Kremlin attempts to manipulate search engine results by comparing backlink and keyphrase networks of US, European, and Russian think tanks, as well as Kremlin-linked “pseudo” think tanks that target Western audiences. Our evidence suggests that pro-Kremlin pseudo-think tanks are being artificially boosted and co-amplified by a network of low-quality websites that generate millions of backlinks to these target websites. We find that Google’s search algorithm appears to be penalizing Russian and pseudo-think tank domains.”

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