Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Censorship Microsoft

This Isn't the First Time Microsoft's Been Accused of Bing Censorship 56

Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft has censored Chinese-language results for Bing users in the United States as well as mainland China, according to an article in The Guardian. But this isn't the first time that Bing's run into significant controversy over the 'sanitizing' of Chinese-language search results outside of mainland China. In November 2009, Microsoft came under fire from free-speech advocates after New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof accused the company of 'craven kowtowing' to the mainland Chinese government by sanitizing its Chinese-language search results for users around the world. Just as with The Guardian and other news outlets this week, Microsoft insisted at the time that a 'bug' was to blame for the sanitized search results. 'The bug identified in the web image search was indeed fixed,' a Microsoft spokesperson told me in December 2009, after I presented them with a series of screenshots suggesting that the pro-Chinese-government filter remained in effect even after Kristof's column. 'Please also note that Microsoft 'recognize[s] that we can continue to improve our relevancy and comprehensiveness in these web results and we will.' Time will tell whether anything's different this time around."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

This Isn't the First Time Microsoft's Been Accused of Bing Censorship

Comments Filter:
  • Bing? (Score:5, Informative)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @11:27PM (#46235273) Homepage Journal

    Why would anyone use Bing in the first place? It's results are very poor and scattered compared to Google, even on technical term searches that it should be able to do much better at.

    Google stays ahead of the pack because they do a good job of search, not just because they're the most familiar name. Until Bing and others can do at least as well, I'll keep drinking the kool-aid.

  • Re:Bing? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Wednesday February 12, 2014 @11:53PM (#46235427)

    That's funny.

    First link searching "Sybase ASE Manual" on Bing: []

    Searching for "IBM DB/2 LUW manual" yielded: [] [] []

    As the first three results.

    Unless you're using a different Bing it seems what you claim is mostly bull.

  • Re:Bing? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 13, 2014 @02:34AM (#46235939)

    Bing is set as the default browser on a bunch of Windows systems in many countries. This has allowed Microsoft to leverage their illegal monopoly on PC desktop operating systems (as described in Judge Jackson's findings of fact [] and confirmed by the US court of appeal) to break into a market where their product would have no chance otherwise. In the EU, there have been systems configured with a choice of browsers and search engines, however that is an exception. That's basically showing how much of a complete joke law enforcement against Microsoft is. Basically wait until they steal yet another market and then slap a "huge million dollar file" of a few points of a percent of their revenew from that one product on them.

  • A few facts ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by jamesl ( 106902 ) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @08:03AM (#46236871)

    There has been discussion over the past day or so that Bing results for Chinese language queries done outside of China are somehow intentionally edited or incomplete for political censoring purposes. We can emphatically confirm that they are not. The only time Bing adjusts search results is to comply with local law or for quality or safety reasons such as child abuse or malware. Bing search results outside of China are not subject to and are not modified in any way based on Chinese law.

    The error we referenced yesterday was one where we incorrectly showed a Chinese âremoval notificationâ(TM) message outside of China to users who have selected to view Bingâ(TM)s People Republic of China version. This message was displayed outside of China with this PRC version of Bing where results were suppressed for any reason (child abuse content, spam, etc.). Again, the search results outside of China were unaltered, and were not censored.

    We understand that with casual inspection, users may be concerned about censorship when seeing the âremoval notificationâ(TM) message intended for users in China and some difference in results between Chinese language and English language searches, but again we can confirm this is not the case. The wrong notification message is simply being displayed in limited circumstances, and we are in the process of fixing that issue.

    It has been noted that some popular sites such as Facebook are at times not shown in China. The fact that results from such sites are shown in Bing outside of China when using the Chinese language is an easy way for anyone to quickly reassure themselves that the results are not being censored.
    The reason results are different for Chinese and English queries however, is because searches in different languages are fundamentally different queries. A result may show lower in one language versus another for a variety of reasons, such as fewer users choosing that link in English results compared to users who searched in another language. As always, however, we are constantly evaluating how to deliver the best results to our customers around the world.

    - Stefan Weitz, Senior Director, Bing []

    And no, I don't work for Microsoft.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.