Mozilla Firefox Removes Russian Search Engines Over Misinformation Issues

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Mozilla has removed the default search engines Yandex Search, Mail.ru and OK.ru from the Firefox browser due to reports of government-sponsored content favored in search results.

These sites are three of the most popular websites in Russia, used by over one hundred million users per month.

Since 2014, Mozilla has made Yandex the default search engine in Russia, and the following year made it the default search for users in Turkey.

With today’s release of Firefox 98.0.1, Mozilla announced that it removed Yandex and Mail.ru providers from the browser‘s drop-down search menu, but did not provide any details on why this was done. .

“Yandex and Mail.ru have been removed as optional search providers in Firefox’s drop-down search menu,” reads the release notes for Firefox 98.0.1.

For those affected, Mozilla said the default search providers and all associated default customizations, add-ons, and bookmarks are being removed as part of this process. Affected users would see their browser reset to the default search engine, which is currently Google.

In a statement to BleepingComputer, Mozilla said it removed search engines from users in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey for the “prevalence of state-sponsored content.”

“After careful consideration, we are suspending the use of Yandex Search in Firefox due to credible reports of search results displaying a prevalence of state-sponsored content, which is contrary to Mozilla’s principles,” explained a carrier. Mozilla’s word to BleepingComputer.

“This means that at this time, Yandex Search will not be the default search experience (or a default search option) for users in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. In the meantime, we are directing the people to google.com.”

Besides Yandex and Mail.ru, a Hacker News reader noticed than the Russian social network Odnoklassniki (ok.ru) was also removed as part of this process. BleepingComputer learned that they were affected as a subsidiary of Mail.ru.

Although Mozilla has not specified what state-sponsored content is being served, BleepingComputer has been told that it is search results favoring Russian state media that are spreading false information regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. .

BleepingComputer has sent further questions to Mozilla regarding today’s change but has not received a response at this time.

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