Headline, March 03 2022/ ''' '' CONSPIRACY THEORISTS CONVERSING '' '''



DIFFERENCES AMONG SEARCH ENGINES IN THE TIME'S analysis were clearest when the terms were specific. For instance, searching for ''Satanist Democrats,'' a theory that -

That Democrats worship Satan or perform satanic rituals, surfaced several rituals advancing the  conspiracy theory. But searching for more established claims, like the ''QAnon'' movement or terms unrelated to conspiracies, surfaced more trustworthy results from all search engines.


DuckDuckGo, which has about 3 percent of the United States search market, holds little direct control over the links in its search results because they are generated by the search engine algorithm provided by Bing, which Microsoft owns.

And all search engine algorithms are considered black boxes because the companies that create them do not completely disclose what informs their decisions.

On an episode of Joe Rogan's popular podcast last year, he turned to a topic that has gripped right-wing communities and other Americans who feel skeptical about the pandemic : search engines.

''If I wanted to find specific cases about people who died from vaccine-related injuries, I had to go to DuckDuckGo,'' Mr. Rogan said, referring to the small-privacy-focused search engine. ''I wasn't finding them on Google.''

Praise for DuckDuckGo has become popular among right-wing social media influencers and conspiracy theorists who question Covid-19 vaccines and push discredited coronavirus treatments. Some have posted screenshots showing that DuckDuckGo appears to surface more links favorable to their views than Google does.

In addition to Mr. Rogan, who is at the center of an outcry about misinformation on his podcast, the search engine has received ringing endorsements from some of the world's most-down-loaded conservative podcasters, including Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino.

''Google is actively suppressing search results that don't acquiesce to traditional viewpoints of the left,'' Mr. Shapiro claimed last March. ''I recommend you install DuckDuckGo on your computer, rather than Google, to combat all this.''

The endorsements underscore how right-wing Americans and conspiracy theorists are shifting their online activity in response to greater moderation from tech giants like Google.

They have increasingly embraced fledgling and sometimes fringe platforms like the chat app Telegram, the video streamer Rumble and even search engines like DuckDuckGo, seeking conditions that seemed more favorable to their conspiracy theories and falsehoods.

That attention has put search engines in a difficult position, fielding queries from a growing set of Americans who seem increasingly gripped by conspiracy theories. They must now try to deliver relevant results for obscure search terms and avoid surfacing possible misinformation, all while steering clear of censorship claims.

In a statement, DuckDuckGo said it condemned ''acts of disinformation'' and said the company's internal surveys showed that its users had a wide mix of political orientations. The company said it was also studying ways to limit the spread of false and misleading information.

For a glimpse at what conspiracy theorists encounter when they search online, The New York Times reviewed the top 20 search results on Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo for more than 30n conspiracy theories and right-wing topics.

Search results can change over time and vary among users, but the comparisons provided a snapshot of what a single user might have seen on a typical day in mid-February.

For many terms, Bing and DuckDuckGo surfaced more untrustworthy websites than Google did when results were compared with website ratings from the Global Disinformation Index, NewsGuard and research published in the journal science. [While DuckDuckGo relies on Bing's algorithm, search results on the two engines can differ.]

Search results on Google also included some untrustworthy websites, but they tended to be less common and lower on the search page.

The Times then reviewed a selection of those terms to check whether the content on the linked pages advanced the conspiracy theory or not. Those comparisons often showed even sharper differences between Google and its competitors.

The role of search engines has grown as online conspiracy theorists have placed more value on what they call ''doing your research'' which involves digging for content online to deepen conspiracy theories rather than relying on mainstream news outlets or government sources.

''Research, research, research,'' a Telegram user wrote in a channel devoted to fighting vaccine mandates. ''Stay AWAY from Google searches, only use DuckDuckGo.''

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Conspiracy Theorists and The  State-of-the-World, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Stuart A. Thompson.

With respectful dedication to the Tech Giants, Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - E-!WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

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