Why DuckDuckGo Is Bad


Many people have been talking about DuckDuckGo (DDG) web browser, a private search engine, lately. The popular privacy-focused search engine that prides itself on privacy protection has come under fire for not being as private as people assumed. In recent years, the DuckDuckGo search engine has been the most popular alternative for people who want to avoid Google and other search engines that track users’ webpage online activity and data collection and have no internet privacy usage. It claims to block trackers from advertisers and filter out personalized search results. DuckDuckGo’s tagline implies that it is private, and its privacy structure is simple. However, a researcher named Zack Edwards revealed that there were some things DuckDuckGo.com did not tell users.

Why DuckDuckGo Is Not as Private as Previously Thought

An investigation of DuckDuckGo’s browser showed that it had a contract with Microsoft for syndicated search content. This means that some of Microsoft’s sites can bypass certain tracker-blocking features of DuckDuckGo. As the entity stated before, it still does not store the personal information of the people who use it. However, the contract means that Microsoft can track users’ IP addresses if they click on ads.


The allegations were affirmed by DuckDuckGo’s founder and CEO, Gabriel Weinberg. He acknowledged that the company allowed some of Microsoft’s trackers but strived to protect ad clicks. Also, he noted that DuckDuckGo search results and ads remain entirely anonymous. Weinberg emphasized that the tracking in question attempts to stop websites from loading third-party tracking scripts. He said that stopping them improves privacy and download speeds. DuckDuckGo plans to release an upgrade soon to enhance Microsoft’s third-party security.

More Backlash for DuckDuckGo

Shortly after Russian forces were sent to Ukraine, Weinberg announced that DuckDuckGo would start down-ranking websites that spread misinformation associated with Russia. Since many DuckDuckGo users who are proponents of online privacy are also promoters of free speech, they argued that the decision was unfair. Weinberg shared the decision via Twitter and received many unfavorable responses from people who accused DuckDuckGo of bias and censorship.

russia propaganda

In all fairness, the platform did not mislead people in this aspect. The decision has nothing to do with privacy, which is one of the main reasons people choose the search engine over others. As Weinberg stated, the key points of DuckDuckGo are privacy and relevance. The search engine is open with users about its content ranking feature that shows them more relevant content instead of less relevant information. Weinberg said that the company plans to continue its strategy for showing relevant results. Without a structure to show more relevant content, the quality of all types of searches may suffer. However, the tracking issue still worries many users.

Anonymous User Feedback

Is DuckDuckGo Safe To Use?

Currently, DuckDuckGo is working to omit the problematic Microsoft contract clause. Weinberg said that the current structure keeps DuckDuckGo from “doing more to Microsoft-owned properties.” DuckDuckGo remains committed to changing this. People who currently use DuckDuckGo for searches can still use it without worrying about their searches being shared. All search queries and search results on the DuckDuckGo platform are anonymous. However, once a user clicks a link and navigates to another website, that activity may not be anonymous.

As Weinberg said, the DuckDuckGo platform functionality is imperfect and never will be. It is still a more private option than big-name search engines. For people who do not trust DuckDuckGo now and want to try a different browser, Brave and Startpage are two options committed to not tracking users.

Pros and Cons of DuckDuckGo

Prioritizes your privacyNot as convenient as Google Search
Your personal information isn’t revealed to third parties (unless you click on an Ad)Fewer integrated services like Google Maps. Gmail, etc
Everyone gets the same resultsNo personalization can produce less relevant results
Simple, easy-to-use interfaceBased in the US–can be compelled to hand over data to law enforcement agencies.
Growing in popularityPrivacy concerns


  • Why is DuckDuckGo bad?
  • How safe is DuckDuckGo?
  • Is DuckDuckGo free?

Published on: 2022-10-27
Updated on: 2024-04-05

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Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. As an SEO Professional, Isaac has considerable expertise in On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO, which gives him a leg up against the competition.