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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs