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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid