Feeds

Microsoft denies reports of scrubbing Chinese-language Bing searches

Activists say results are heavily doctored – even in US

New hybrid storage solutions

Microsoft's Bing search engine is returning suspiciously pro-state results for Chinese-language searches even when those searches come from outside of China, activists claim.

The Guardian noted that a number of Chinese-language activist blogs are reporting that the results they have been seeing on Bing searches from within the US are very different than those returned from English-language search queries.

According to the reports, users who search in Chinese for terms controversial in mainland China will often get pages which are state-sponsored or authored by groups and organizations allied with the Chinese government.

Among the queries returning the specific results were The Dalai Lama, Falun Gong and the June 4 (Tienanmen Square) protests.

Meanwhile, searching the same terms in English, say the activists, returns a different set of sites with much less of a pro-China tone.

Further complicating matters, using similar tactics searching both Chinese and English terms on Google Search showed no such discrepancy, as the engine returned similar page results in both language searches.

Microsoft, for its part, has denied that it has doctored its results, saying that a combination of systems errors and incorrectly-flagged pages lead to the results noted in the reports.

"Bing does not apply China’s legal requirements to searches conducted outside of China,: Bing senior director Stefan Weitz said in a statement provided to The Reg.

"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."

Chinese state officials have long been known to be monitoring and censoring much of the online content in the mainland of the country. Dubbed the Great Firewall, the network is able to filter out content deemed too "controversial" and has long been a foil of digital rights and anti-censorship groups.

The role of private companies in China's internet policies has long been a point of contention. Many firms have been forced to weigh the potential for lucrative contract deals and a massive untapped market with the strict controls required by Chinese officials for firms that do business in the country. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
FAIL.GOV – Government asks Dropbox for accounts that don't exist
Storage locker's transparency report shows rise in government data gobble attempts
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.