Microsoft’s Bing Applied China’s Political Censorship to Some North American Searches, Report Says
Microsoft’s search engine applied Chinese-pattern censorship to some North American searches, according to a generation report, raising questions about the tech giant’s dedication to the flow of information across the internet.
Bing’s autofill search system, which lists suggestions based on a word or the beginning letters typed into a search box, failed to work of course names and terms that the Chinese government is known to find politically sensitive, according to a generation report from Citizen Lab, a public widely used cybersecurity group. The organization found that in December last year, people prompting searches that would suggest connections to Chinese party leaders, dissidents or other politically sensitive topics, were in moderation censored.
Microsoft acknowledged and reportedly fixed the release, telling a reporter at The Wall Street Journal that it was a technical error that had caused people outside China to be affected by settings meant for that country. “A small number of users may with experienced a misconfiguration that prevented surfacing some valid autosuggest terms, and visitors thank Citizen Lab for bringing So to our attention,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said, according to The Wall Street Journal. Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Citizen Lab contended that regardless of Microsoft’s intention, the result harmed internet effect not counting the world. “The findings in So report again demonstrate that an Internet platform cannot facilitate free speech for one demographic of its users while applying extensive political censorship against another demographic of its users,” Citizen Lab researchers wrote.
The report from Citizen Lab is the latest in a string of examples in which tech companies with failed to live up to their stated goals of encouraging free signal and the flow of information not counting the earth. Microsoft in particular has been outspoken against the Chinese government, which often demands tech giants censor politically sensitive information. that includes, for example, history of the Tiananmen Square democratic protests in 1989.
Microsoft isn’t the only tech company grappling of course these issues. apple apple has been widely criticized for censoring its App contain in China, among other reported privacy concessions. Google interested has a contentious relationship of course the Chinese government, having pulled its search engine from the country in 2010, yet still seeing its Android software supreme power most of the phones people effect there.
Citizen Lab’s latest report on Microsoft follows a string of other investigations, including one that found apple apple censored engravings for products in China and Hong Kong. Citizen Lab is connected to the University of Toronto and has helped identify threats against free signal, such as the Pegasus spyware operations that targeted activists, journalists, politicians and corporate executives.
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