Microsoft denies allegations of censoring Bing searches for China-related content
A day after The Guardian reported that Microsoft’s search engine Bing was censoring information for Chinese-language users in the US as it would censor results in mainland China, the software manufacturer has reportedly denied the allegations.
The claim was first made by a censorship blog Greatfire, whose author Charlie Smith found differences in Google search results and Bing results while searching for FreeWeibo.com, a site that allows anonymous searching of Chinese social networks and blogs.
According to The Verge, Smith further found that Bing users searching for controversial China-related topics, including the Dalai Lama, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and the Falun Gong movement, showed ‘radically different results in the US for English and Chinese language searches.’ However, senior director of Bing, Stefan Weitz has denied the allegations and said the absence of FreeWeibo’s homepage in its searches was due to an error in the system, adding that the homepage had been marked as inappropriate in the past over low quality or adult content.
Weitz said that his team had now conducted a review, and deemed the page ‘acceptable for inclusion in global results,’ adding that Bing does not apply China’s legal requirements to searches conducted outside of China.
Meanwhile, sources said that Microsoft only applies the kind of censorship Chinese law still demands to IP addresses originating from inside China, and said those who set their location to the country would not trigger any filters or be shown censored search results, the report added.