Back to Africa Check

No, DuckDuckGo CEO didn’t say search engine would ‘purge’ independent media

IN SHORT: Rumours first seen on social media earlier in 2022 claim DuckDuckGo will be “purging” independent media outlets from the search engine. But it wasn’t true in March, and it’s still not true in November.

Several Facebook posts doing the rounds in November 2022 have made a claim about search engine DuckDuckGo that might concern some internet users.

The posts read: “DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg has announced that the search engine will begin purging all independent media outlets from the platform and will replace with ‘trusted’ mainstream media outlets instead.” 

US-based DuckDuckGo boasts about its privacy technology, calling itself a “free all-in-one privacy solution”, and was founded in 2008 by current chief executive Gabriel Weinberg.

DuckDuckGo was in the headlines earlier in 2022 because of criticism from users after it down-ranked websites spreading disinformation during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But has Weinberg announced the search engine will purge all “independent” media outlets and replace them with “trusted mainstream media outlets”? We checked.

DuckDuckGo_False

‘This report is wrong … This is easy to verify’

On 14 April a Twitter user posted the same claim with a link to an article by News Punch. Misinformation rating-website Media Bias Fact Check calls News Punch a “questionable source based on extreme right-wing bias and promotion of tin foil hat conspiracies”.

DuckDuckGo’s verified Twitter account responded, saying the tweet was untrue.

“This report is wrong, we are not ‘purging’ independent media, and this is easy to verify,” DuckDuckGo said.

 

 

Weinberg also took to Twitter to refute the claim.

In one tweet, Weinberg said: “This isn't true –I never announced that. Looks to be a completely made up headline. What independent media outlets do you see purged in search results when you search for them?”

 

 

The claims about search engine DuckDuckGo purging independent media outlets from their platform are false.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Further Reading

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.