Microsoft’s Bing search engine hides search results with the names of Chinese political leaders and dissidents. The restriction even applies to searches from the United States. These results were published by the research laboratory Citizen Lab from the University of Toronto, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The names of politically sensitive and inconvenient people for the Chinese party are not automatically displayed, as is usually the case when a user starts typing a request. This seems to be the second category of names that are censored in automatic prompts after people associated with pornography and erotica.
Censorship occurs if you look for names in Latin letters or Chinese. It’s not only noticeable in Bing – the same effect has a search in the Start menu and DuckDuckGo, which uses Bing hint systems. It is possible that the restriction applies not only in China, the United States and Canada, but also in other countries.
The most striking examples that Microsoft will not help automatically fill in are President Xi Jinping, activist and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, and Tank Man, an unknown man standing in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square.
Last year, Microsoft was caught blocking a search for “Tank Man” in several countries – the United States, France, Singapore and others. The company attributed this error to the human factor. Citizen Lab calls the rules of censorship that flow from one country to another dangerous when people from all over the world use Internet platforms.
“If Microsoft had never engaged in Chinese censorship operations in the first place, there would be no way for them to spill into other regions,” said Jeffrey Knokel, a senior associate at Citizen Lab.