According to a report by a cyber-monitoring group that was released yesterday, the Chinese-language Bing results are heavily censored. Consequently, Microsoft is now accused of censoring some results on the search engine.
The censorship seems to be applied for Chinese-language search results in China, but also all around the globe. The new report revealing this interesting news was first published by Greatfire.org.
What the group found is that the results obtained in Chinese language for several sensitive topics for the authorities at Beijing, are slightly different from the results obtained on the same topics, but in English.
Consequently, the conclusion that certain search terms were censored was easily reached. It seems that one of the terms that is censored in Chinese-language search results all over the world is the name of Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Moreover, Chinese speaking people who search for information about the Dalai Lama or the Tiananmen Square massacre, will get censored results, too.
Soon after these reports were published, Microsoft issued a statement to deny the allegations that the company agreed to place this censorship on Bing search results for Chinese-language. Microsoft went on to explain that a system fault has actually removed some search results for users outside 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,” a rep for Bing said according to a statement published by Reuters.
However, the rep failed to clear out certain aspects. For instance, it makes no revelations on whether the error has been fixed or not, or if the company will actually keep this censorship on. Microsoft officials in Beijing made no other statements, for now.
This is not the first time when Microsoft is accused of censoring. The company was actually linked to a scandal of censoring the Chinese version of Skype.
Censorship in China is a real issue, so companies who want to operate here need to carefully comply with the Chinese censorship requirements. Microsoft seems to be trying at this point to make its presence more visible in China.