Russia says Google down-ranking Sputnik, RT would be censorship

The Google app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration taken September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's foreign ministry said on Thursday that moves by Alphabet Inc's GOOGL.O Google to place articles from Russian news outlets Sputnik and Russia Today lower in search results would amount to censorship.

Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, speaking on stage at an international forum last Saturday, responded to a question about Sputnik articles appearing on Google by saying the company was working to give less prominence to “those kinds of websites” as opposed to delisting them.

Speaking at a news briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday Google was acting under strong political pressure from the U.S. authorities.

Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Christian Lowe