Tuta Mail (Tutanota) Accuses Google of Censoring Its Search Results

Shadowboxing in Search Results: Tuta Mail De-ranked and Disappearing on Google!

Is Google hiding Tuta Mail from search results? Here’s the controversy surrounding Tuta Mail’s search ranking and dig deeper into the potential violation of Europe’s DMA. Learn about algorithmic bias, the importance of search transparency, and how users can navigate a potentially unfair digital marketplace.

For many users seeking privacy-focused email solutions, the popular open-source encrypted email service Tuta Mail (previously Tutanota) is a great alternative to mainstream providers. However, the company recently raised concerns about its visibility in Google search results. 

Tuta Mail Being De-ranked on Google?

Hanover, Germany-based Tuta Mail, the world’s second-largest secure email service provider, isn’t appearing on Google for search terms like “encrypted email” or “secure email”. Moreover, a dramatic drop in search ranking for “Tutanota login” is observed, suggesting a potential violation of the European Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Tuta Mail (Tutanota) Accuses Google of Censoring Its Search Results
What happens when Tutanota login is typed in Google (Screenshot: Hackread.com)

According to Tuta Mail’s blog, its users in Germany cannot view Tuta’s website as the first result but only on their Android app on Google Play. It may have severe implications for Tuta’s business, despite being a Google-specific issue, because on other search engines, like Bing or DuckDuckGo, there’s no such issue. This lack of search visibility for relevant keywords can hinder Tuta’s ability to compete in the email service market and put them at a disadvantage. 

Why Might Google Be De-ranking Tuta Mail?

Tuta Mail’s lower ranking in Google search results could be due to various factors, including relevance, algorithmic bias, and technical issues. Google’s search algorithms prioritize user experience, and other email service providers may have higher relevance scores. Technical glitches or indexing problems can cause temporary website disappearance from search results, but this is highly unlikely for an established service like Tuta Mail. It is a complex issue and Google must address it to ensure transparency and user awareness. 

What’s more concerning is that it violates the DMA, which promotes fair competition for privacy-conscious companies. The DMA being a new regulation, is evolving its enforcement of search engine practices. If Tuta Mail has evidence of Google manipulating search results, they could file a complaint.

Not the First Time for Tuta:

Tuta Mail has been facing blockages from multiple sides. In 2022, Hackread.com reported Microsoft blocking Tutanota/Tuta Mail email addresses from registering for Microsoft Teams accounts, despite the service having over 2 million registered users.

Russia also blocked Tuta in certain parts of the country in February 2020 without notifying the team about the reason whereas the service has been blocked in Egypt since October 2019.

In a comment to Hackread.com, Matthias Pfau, co-founder of Tuta Mail, criticized Google’s monopoly over search engine results, specifically its impact on determining what to show and what not to show.

“This issue is limited to Google only. But due to Google’s search dominance in Europe and North America, the drop we see in search results directly affects our business: When potential users are not able to find our website on Google, it means we lose business. Google must stop this unfair limitation of showing our website in search results immediately. We have tried to contact Google directly, but since this did not work, we have to make the issue public.”

Matthias Pfau, co-founder of Tuta Mail

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