Depending on what country you were in following the massacre in Bucha, a suburb of Ukraine’s capital city, your go-to search engine likely generated different results when looking into what happened. This is especially true if you compared the results generated by U.S. based Google, and Russia-based Yandex, in any country.
ISD’s Iris Boyer spoke with Slate France on the non-neutrality of search engines: “The important thing is to take a step back. If you are in the country and you are convinced of the validity of [local] policies, you won’t necessarily question the validity of the information received.”
The opposite is also true: “If we are convinced that the media lie to us, we can decide to inform ourselves only through supposed independent sources. In the case of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this means, for example, trusting only entities such as Russia Today, Sputnik”, which are funded and linked directly to the Kremlin.
In France, the “anti-system” communities tend to be more open to Russian propaganda. “In addition to the classic East-West division, we see a divide between the spheres that have relative confidence in the French information landscape and those that have rejected it,” Iris adds.