Microsoft’s Bing in Chinese censoring fiasco


by Ben Sullivan| 12 February 2014

Bing accused of omitting search engine results.

Microsoft has denied that it was censoring websites from its Bing search engine results for internet users outside of China following allegations from a Chinese rights group that said the tech giant was removing results the government deemed 'politically sensitive'.

The China-based freedom advocacy group said in a statement this week that the search engine Bing was filtering out both English and Chinese language search results for a number of terms, including exiled Tibetan leader "Dalai Lama" which China labels a "violent separatist".

"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," Stefan Weitz, senior director for Bing, said in a statement sent to Reuters.

It was not confirmed if the 'error had been fixed, and Microsoft officials in China have refused to comment further.

China is renowned for its highly-censored internet, with social media and news all kept in a tight grip by the ruling Communist government.

Microsoft is not being quiet about its aims to grow in China, but it has to be careful to adhere to Chinese government regulations whilst still maintaining the image of freedom and trust it claims in other regions.

"It would appear that no matter where you use Bing in the world, unfavorable news and information about China is being filtered from your search results, especially if you are searching in Chinese," said a co-founder of anti-censorship blog, which published the results of its study today.

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