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Startpage Looks Like It's AstroTurfing -- With Payments to Twitter -- in Order to Boost the False Perception of 'Privacy'

Summary: AstroTurfing for a fee; is this what Startpage -- once known for respecting people's privacy and dignity -- has been reduced to now that it is seemingly bossed by a surveillance company (it refuses to address the subject)?

OUR Startpage wiki page, which we started some weeks ago, documents our findings about the sell(out) of Startpage -- a search engine we've used and recommended for years. It had been fine until it got sold (at least a majority of it). We've taken a look, over at Twitter, at all the ads currently shown [PDF]. They actually pay Twitter a chunk of money to pretend they're still privacy-respecting. How much money? It's hard to tell, but there's a budget dedicated to this lie. Does System1 foot the bill?

"There's almost no comment of substance there except Startpage staff commenting/replying to self/ves.""Apparently," one reader told us, "Startpage ran a Twitter ad recently to boost its image. See the one with all the likes and retweets about the "Big News"?"

Here it is:

Startpage spam

There's something 'wrong' about the number of 'likes' compared to follow-ups'. Click-farming activity? Comments like "Nice tweetThanks for sharing" do make one wonder and one calls it "big spam". There's almost no comment of substance there except Startpage staff commenting/replying to self/ves. This kind of AstroTurfing-esque pattern does raise suspicions. It can't be good for Startpage's image. They're not trustworthy anymore.

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