21 November 2009 ~ 31 Comments

Microsoft Bing censoring searches in Chinese?

In a piece from Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times titled Boycott Microsoft Bing, Kristof observes that text and image searches in simplified Chinese characters (those used in mainland China) return sanitized results. He also says that Microsoft’s responses to the problem have been inconsistent over the last few months, ranging from a bug that will be fixed, to a result of the algorithm, back to being a bug. From Kristof’s post:

If you search a term on Bing that is politically sensitive in China, in English the results are legitimate. Search “Tiananmen” and you’ll find out about the army firing on pro-democracy protesters in 1989. Search Dalai Lama, Falun Gong and you also get credible results. Conduct the search in complex Chinese characters (the kind used in Taiwan and Hong Kong) and on the whole you still get authentic results.

But conduct the search with the simplified characters used in mainland China, then you get sanitized pro-Communist results. This is especially true of image searches. Magic! No Tiananmen Square massacre. The Dalai Lama becomes an oppressor. Falun Gong believers are villains, not victims.
What’s most offensive is that this is true wherever in the world the search is conducted – including in my office in New York. If Microsoft felt it had to bow to Chinese censorship within China’s borders, based on the IP address, that might be defensible. But when Microsoft skews its worldwide searches to make Hu Jintao feel better, that’s a disgrace. It becomes simply a unit of the Central Committee Propaganda Department.

(This is an issue with Google as well, but to a much lesser extent. Google censors results on its search engine used within China, google.cn, but offers mostly uncensored results using simplified Chinese characters on its worldwide browser, google.com. However, some searches on google.com, such as images for Falun Gong, are also censored.)

Bing has also posted an official response to Kristof’s post.

31 Responses to “Microsoft Bing censoring searches in Chinese?”

  1. athena_0007@hotmail.com 23 November 2009 at 5:11 pm Permalink

    I believe this to be unethical, but what is ethical anymore? The definition of ethics over the years has been derived down to personal reasoning now. If you asked the Chinese government why they would censor their citizens, I’m sure they would not think it to be wrong in any kind of way. I think censoring can only do harm to what people believe to be true.

  2. tattoo needles 26 November 2009 at 9:33 pm Permalink

    If you asked the Chinese government why they would censor their citizens, I’m sure they would not think it to be wrong in any kind of way.

  3. Yumi Vega 8 December 2009 at 5:43 am Permalink

    i am using both Bing and Google and i think both search engines give relevant search results. i would still prefer Google though, because it gives a little bit more relevant search results than Bing.

  4. Heather May 18 January 2010 at 4:25 am Permalink

    my default search engine is Yahoo but now i am using BING because it is much better than Yahoo. i heard that Bing search engine would power Yahoo search also.

  5. Kymm 4 February 2010 at 11:38 pm Permalink

    i think that Bing is not as good as Google. Google would still index new websites faster than Bing. Microsoft would still need a lot of catching to do with GoogleBot.

  6. Deandre Kierzewski 5 July 2011 at 4:37 am Permalink

    Hi my friend! I want to state that this post is awesome, nice written and may include almost all important infos. I’d like to see more posts like this .

  7. Podróż poślubna 21 July 2011 at 3:47 am Permalink

    Miesiac miodowy

  8. gastric bypass operation 22 August 2011 at 6:13 pm Permalink

    Can’t wait to see your next post,thanks

  9. Felicitas Gores 22 August 2011 at 9:18 pm Permalink

    Attention-grabbing article. Were did you got all the information from… :)

  10. LKW 11 September 2011 at 5:24 pm Permalink

    Thank you for another informative website. The place else could I get that kind of info written in such an ideal approach? I’ve a mission that I am simply now working on, and I have been on the glance out for such information.king Regards Anne

  11. Generate Sales Lead 8 October 2011 at 3:18 pm Permalink

    Some times its a pain inside the ass to read what blog owners wrote but this site is genuinely user pleasant! .

  12. Ozell Rawat 16 October 2011 at 2:21 am Permalink

    Howdy this can be somewhat of away from topic but I has been curious about in the event that blogs make use of WYSIWYG editors or perhaps if you need to manually program code along with Web coding. I am beginning a blog soon however have no code experience so I wished to obtain advice coming from someone with expertise. Virtually any aid will be enormously valued!

  13. link 17 October 2011 at 12:18 am Permalink

    Thankx a great deal for this purpose! That i havent happen to be it quite satisfied by just a publish for a long time of your time! Youve started using it, anything imagine during writing a blog. Nevertheless, You will be unquestionably someone that has an issue to convey that searchers need to listen to! Maintain the nice activity. Continue impressive the people!

  14. Party Decoration 20 October 2011 at 4:53 pm Permalink

    Thanks for writing valuable post regarding the subject. I’m a fan of one’s site. Maintain the truly amazing work.

  15. hqclassic 27 October 2011 at 7:44 am Permalink

    Id have a preference to thank you for that efforts youve finished in script this send. I am hoping the strict same very greatest gathering as of you inside the impending and. Popular reality your creative letters skills has inspired me to start my peculiar BlogEngine weblog instantly.

  16. sunmmerjing 6 November 2011 at 6:33 pm Permalink

    I’m a sitio web fan and with so many blogs on the internet now, not very many stand out. This sitio caught my eye and I thought that I would post to let you know.

  17. new vapor superfly 8 November 2011 at 7:02 am Permalink

    Howdy! I simply would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the great information you will have right here on this post. I might be coming back to your weblog for more soon.

  18. Frankfurt IPO 18 November 2011 at 2:10 am Permalink

    I was happy to seek out this specific web-site.I want to for you to thanks inside your period just for this fantastic read!! My spouse and i positively having fun with every amount of the idea and I’ve a person bookmarked to take a glance at new items you website article.

  19. 68Mrnak@gmail.com 2 December 2011 at 7:55 pm Permalink

    Great post, I think people should learn a lot from this blog its rattling user pleasant. So much excellent info on here :D .

  20. Troy Polamalu fan 6 December 2011 at 2:13 pm Permalink

    I am no longer sure the place you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend a while learning more or understanding more. Thanks for excellent information I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.

  21. porno izle 1 February 2012 at 5:38 am Permalink

    porno izle, porno seyret

  22. Allen Thornbrough 28 March 2012 at 3:13 am Permalink

    Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, good site!

  23. Cherry Chadbourne 31 March 2012 at 9:45 am Permalink

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

  24. Denese Krammes 10 August 2012 at 6:47 pm Permalink

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  25. Elene Kapiloff 14 August 2012 at 1:18 am Permalink

    More about the author

  26. Get Massive Traffic 23 September 2012 at 5:11 pm Permalink

    Late last year I started doing some crazy crazy stuff, going TOTALLY insane in mass targeted traffic generation. It’s not something anyone talks about as this is where the BIG players are cashing in BIG time and so are the Fortune 500 companies. And no … it’s NOT what anyone wants to teach you as it’s their secret for getting maximum exposure and making a lot of money in the process. You can check it out here – http://reviewsleuth.info/automasstraffic I’m using it exclusively. It’s 100% WITHOUT Google, Yahoo or Bing. Oh yeah and even Google ADWORDS!

  27. Jada Fires 21 December 2012 at 10:23 am Permalink

    outstanding submit, i seriously enjoy this website, go on it

  28. Arnulfo Dauphin 23 February 2014 at 10:50 am Permalink

    Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle and to maintaining a healthy weight.


Leave a Reply