Microsoft removes Russian news sources from Bing and Start news app

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Microsoft has chosen to avoid the spread of misinformation by downgrading Russian state-sponsored sites Russia today and Sputnik from the company’s Bing search results. In a message written by Chairman and President Brad Smith, the company noted that it was acting on both fronts in response to the conflict in Ukraine.

Consumers will see the most publicized reaction in the Microsoft search engine Bing, which has less than 6% market share in the United States, according to Statcounter. Microsoft has said it will refuse to display content created by Sputnik and Russia today on the Start app.

They will also remove the RT app from the Microsoft Store. Start is part of the news found in Widgets apps on Windows 11 and News Interests apps on Windows 10. Start also has its own page dedicated to news.

“We are moving quickly to take further steps to reduce the exposure of Russian state propaganda as well as to ensure that our own platforms do not inadvertently fund these operations,” Microsoft’s Smith wrote.

In accordance with The recent EU decisionthe Microsoft Start platform (including MSN.com) will not display any state-sponsored RT and Sputnik content.

“We are removing RT news apps from our Windows app store and further downgrading search results for these sites on Bing so that it only returns RT and Sputnik links when a user clearly intends to. navigate to these pages,” Smith added. “Finally, we prohibit all advertisements from RT and Sputnik on our ad network and will not place any advertisements from our ad network on these sites.”

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It’s unclear what Microsoft can do to prevent the spread of misinformation on social media, which the company does not own. However, they said they were trying.

“The past few days have seen kinetic warfare accompanied by a well-orchestrated battle in the information ecosystem where the ammunition is misinformation, undermining truth and sowing the seeds of discord and distrust,” Smith wrote. . “This requires decisive efforts across the tech sector – both individually by companies and in partnership with others – as well as with governments, academia and civil society.”

Behind the scenes, Microsoft said it was also acting to block the spread of malware, which they first identified shortly after the conflict began.

“We immediately informed the Ukrainian government of the situation, including our identification of the use of a new malware package (which we called FoxBlade), and provided technical advice on the measures to be taken to prevent the success malware,” Smith wrote.

“Within three hours of this discovery, signatures to detect this new exploit had been written and added to our Defender anti-malware service, helping to defend against this new threat. and defensive suggestions to Ukrainian officials regarding attacks on a range of targets, including Ukrainian military institutions and manufacturers and several other Ukrainian government agencies.This work is ongoing.

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