Microsoft Accused of Censoring Bing Chinese Search Queries in the US

Report claims that Bing is showing different results for English and Chinese queries

Microsoft might be censoring information displayed to users performing search queries in Chinese on the United States version of the Bing search engine, a new report claims.

It turns out that Bing is displaying different search results for queries written in English and Chinese languages on the US flavor of the search engine, The Guardian reports, which makes many believe that the Redmond-based tech giant is filtering results in the same way it does in mainland China.

Some of the search queries that might be censored for the Chinese language include Dalai Lama, June 4 incident, Falun Gong, and FreeGate, the same report adds, explaining that the same filters appear to be in place on Yahoo as well, which is powered by Bing’s search engine.

The censorship claims, which have first been made by GreatFire, also show that Google’s search engine displays similar results for queries performed in English and Chinese.

Microsoft, on the other hand, says that no filtering is in place right now, explaining in a statement for The Verge that some of the results are missing from Chinese queries due to an error in the Bing system.

What’s more, Stefan Weitz, senior director of Bing, notes that some of these results might have once been flagged as inappropriate or low-quality results, so they got removed from the search engine “at some point in the past.”

Weitz explains, however, that Microsoft is now conducting a review to determine the problem with Chinese results, but mentions that no censorship is implemented for queries performed from the United States.

“[Bing] does not apply China's legal requirements to searches conducted outside of China,” he states, so basically the same results should be returned to American users no matter the language they are searching in.

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