Bing reportedly censoring Chinese language search results for US users, Microsoft denies accusations

By on February 12, 2014, 5:30 PM
microsoft, china, bing, censorship

Microsoft denied it was excluding websites or censoring information from its Bing search engine results for Chinese-language users in the US, after censorship blog GreatFire.org first brought up the issue.

Author Charlie Smith, who is associated with the blog, told The Guardian that he found the differences while searching for FreeWeibo.com, a tool that allows uncensored search of Chinese blogs. “FreeWeibo's homepage — which did appear on Google — would not appear on Bing”, he said. 

The British publication also noticed that Chinese-language searches for politically controversial China-related topics produced unforeseen results.

An English-language Bing search for the Dalai Lama is led by a link to his official website, followed by links to his Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter pages. Whereas a Chinese-language search for the same displays a link to information on a documentary compiled by CCTV, China’s state-owned broadcaster, followed by a link to Wikipedia rival Baidu Baike, which is said to be heavily censored.

Stefan Weitz, senior director for Bing, denied the charge that Microsoft is censoring information overseas, citing a technical problem instead. “Due to an error in our system, we triggered an incorrect results removal notification for some searches noted in the report but the results themselves are and were unaltered outside of China”, he said.

Though Weitz did not say if the technical error had been fixed, he said that the Microsoft's search engine does not apply China's legal requirements to searches conducted outside of the country. Meanwhile, Microsoft officials in Beijing refused to elaborate.




User Comments: 5

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Guest said:

Who uses Bing to do any search?

Guest said:

This is a non-issue. As an expat living in China, it is easy to get around the Great Chinese Firewall. Even high school kids know how to do it as do all the foreigners living here - either VPNs or proxies are easy to come by for anyone interested in getting around the censors. What is more frustrating here is how slow the internet is, especially when crossing the firewall back to the west, even for sites that are not blocked and when not using VPN.

Guest said:

Who uses Bing to do any search?

Do you live under a rock? Really, do you? What a retarded question. Who uses Bing? Me, and approximately 20% of all internet users according to the last stats I looked at. Perhaps if you removed those Google glasses (and probably that Google stick firmly lodged up somewhere) and tried something new once in a while you might find out why those 20% use it.

Guest said:

I use google, google scholar, google books etc for search. Bing is just rubbish by comparison - never gets me what I want. people using Bing just do so cos their browser defaults to it, or to spite Google, which just spites themselves. It's nice to have a choice but until it actually can deliver like google, then forget it.

Guest said:

Who uses Bing to do any search?

Ahhhhh SPIDERMAN!!

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