News / USA

Microsoft Denies Censoring Bing Chinese Search Results

FILE - Microsoft vendor Patrick Porter works on a laptop marked with the logo for Bing in a cafeteria at the company in Redmond, Washington.
FILE - Microsoft vendor Patrick Porter works on a laptop marked with the logo for Bing in a cafeteria at the company in Redmond, Washington.
The U.S. technology giant Microsoft has rejected allegations that its Bing search engine censors Chinese language results for users in the United States.

Bing on Wednesday denied the censorship accusations. In a statement, Bing said it does not apply China's legal requirements to searches conducted outside of China.

It did acknowledge, however, that an error in its system triggered "incorrect results removal notification for some searches." But it insisted the results themselves were uncensored outside of China.

Earlier, an Internet freedom advocacy group, GreatFire.org, said censored results are appearing for search terms such as the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who is regarded by Beijing as a "splittist."

Percy Alpha, with GreatFire.org, told VOA that Bing appeared to be filtering out links and stories that Chinese authorities would view as damaging.

A screenshot of the search results on Bing's Chinese site for the term 'Dalai Lama'A screenshot of the search results on Bing's Chinese site for the term 'Dalai Lama'
x
A screenshot of the search results on Bing's Chinese site for the term 'Dalai Lama'
A screenshot of the search results on Bing's Chinese site for the term 'Dalai Lama'
"If I search Dalai Lama, almost all results on the first page, even on international Bing, are from Chinese [state-controlled] media...and the Bing results mostly portray Dalai Lama in a negative way," said Alpha.

In our internal testing at VOA, using search terms commonly blocked or censored in China, such as  “Dalai Lama (达赖喇嘛)” and “Bo Xilai (薄熙来)”, results in Mandarin gave high ranking mostly to official Chinese sites or domestic Chinese sites that can be controlled by Beijing.  The English searches had a much different result, displaying mostly western outlets.  The searches were done using Bing.com in Washington.

We also did a identical test using Bing's rival, Google, and came up with very different results in Mandarin, but similar results in English.

Western companies have long been accused of complying with censorship demands in order to do business in China, which has nearly 600 million Internet users.

A screenshot of the search results on Google's Chinese site for the term 'Dalai Lama'A screenshot of the search results on Google's Chinese site for the term 'Dalai Lama'
But Alpha said what made this case different was that Microsoft appeared to be filtering certain results not only for users in mainland China, but also in the United States.

Responding to the Bing statement, Alpha told VOA that nothing has changed, and that the results were still "clearly altered."

Alpha believed business interests may be at play.

"Microsoft has traditionally a really good relationship with China compared to other IT companies. So I think Chinese authorities may have asked them for a favor and they just did it. And there's a huge market share in China. Even though the server itself is not in China, Microsoft has huge business interests in China. Therefore, they might just comply with Chinese authorities to keep a good relationship with them," said Alpha.

Microsoft has been slammed in the past by rights groups for censoring the Chinese version of Skype. It also drew condemnation in 2005 when it shut down the Chinese-language blog of journalist and activist Michael Anti.

Paris Huang contributed to this report from Washington.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More