Microsoft bing

Microsoft Bing reportedly censors politically sensitive Chinese names

If you recently tried to search for Chinese political figures deemed sensitive on Microsoft Bing, your search results may have been limited. The Citizen Lab, based at the Munk School at the University of Toronto, came to this conclusion after analyzing Microsoft’s Bing autosuggestion system.

According to the Citizen Lab report:

We have consistently found that Bing censors politically sensitive Chinese names over time, that their censorship covers multiple Chinese political topics, consists of at least two languages, English and Chinese, and applies to different regions of the world, including China, the United States and Canada.

Through the analysis carried out, the team of researchers realized that the names of political figures considered sensitive did not appear immediately after we started typing in the search bar, which was a bit unusual. . And, as noted by Engadget, this is the second largest category of names to be censored by autosuggestion. “We found that the most common reason a name was collaterally censored was containing the name ‘Dick’, for example, ‘Dick Cheney’.”

The group of researchers also discovered that the same problem was also present in DuckDuckGo and Yahoo, which depend heavily on Microsoft’s Bing search index. However, North American users can still hit the enter button to access the full set of results to counter the auto-suggest issue.

That said, via email on May 17, Microsoft responded to Citizen Lab’s search results and reported finding a technical error responsible for the auto-suggest issue, and further pointed out that it had been fixed, as spotted it PCMag. Remember that Microsoft Bing was told to shut down the auto-suggest feature for seven days in March by the relevant government agency. Perhaps that could be part of the reason why people were encountering this technical error.

The statement shared by Microsoft further indicates that the user’s autosuggestions are based on the query made and determined by their behavior, for example, what other people search on the Internet. “Not seeing an auto-suggest doesn’t mean it’s been blocked.”

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