The Internet search engines Yandex and Google have started deleting from their search results hyperlinks to websites that have been blocked by the Russian government. The website VC.ru was the first to notice the policy shift, which only affects Internet users in Russia.
In particular, Yandex and Google no longer return search results for the torrent trackers rutracker.org and nnm-club.me and the opposition political website Grani.ru. Users can reportedly circumvent Yandex’s censorship by accessing the website in “incognito mode,” without logging into their Yandex accounts.
Yandex and Google haven’t yet purged all websites blocked in Russia from their search results. Both search engines still show hyperlinks to LinkedIn, for instance, and Meduza was also able to find search results listing the banned websites Kompromat.ru and Graniru.org.
New legislation taking effect on November 1 requires Internet search engines to remove search results redirecting Internet users to websites banned by the Russian government. According to the law, Russia’s federal censor can block any online resources, including VPN services and Internet anonymizers, that offer users access to content banned in Russia.
Google did not respond to inquiries by VC.ru. Yandex has stated that it, “like all other search engines,” will be required to comply with the new law.