Microsoft’s search engine Bing was accused of censoring information for Chinese language users in the US in the same way it filters results in mainland China. Guardian today reported that Bing returns radically different results in the US for English and Chinese language searches on a series of controversial terms.
These include Dalai Lama, June 4 incident (how the Chinese refer to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989), Falun Gong and FreeGate, a popular internet workaround for government censorship.
A Chinese language search for the Dalai Lama (达赖喇嘛) on Bing is lead by a link to information on a documentary compiled by CCTV, China’s state-owned broadcaster. This is followed by two entries from Baidu Baike, China’s heavily censored Wikipedia rival run by the search engine Baidu. The results are similar on Yahoo, whose search is powered by Bing.
Microsoft denied the fact that they are censoring results and responded that it is due to error in the system. Bing Director Stefan Weitz said the following in a statement provided to The Reg.
“Bing does not apply China’s legal requirements to searches conducted outside of China,”
“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.”