Microsoft's Bing search engine blocked in China

27 January, 2019, 09:35 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • Microsoft's Bing blocked in China in further crackdown on foreign tech services

Credit: Casimiro PT/ShutterstockMicrosoft's Bing search engine has been unexpectedly blocked in China without any official statement from the government.

On Wednesday, Chinese users took to social media to write that their attempts to access Bing's China website, cn.bing.com, were failing, the report said.

Many other foreign websites including Google, Facebook, and Twitter have always been blocked in the country for offering unfiltered content, including information critical of the Chinese government.

After a day-long outage, Microsoft's Bing search engine is being restored in China, the company says.

"Currently, the system is not available, we intend to define further steps", - said the representative of Microsoft in response to a query by Mashable. A spokeswoman from China's cyberspace authority did not reply to a request for comment on Thursday. For instance, in China, Bing would redirect users to the government's own content about Dalai Lama, while outside of the country it would link to Dalai Lama's Wikipedia page.

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Bing complied with government censorship rules by excluding foreign websites that are blocked by Chinese filters from search results.

However, Bing's unavailability is raising questions as Microsoft already agreed to the compliances set by China and was adhering to the state censorship policies. "We do adhere to the global network initiative set of principles when it comes to search services in China". Beijing blocks social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as several foreign news sites. Facebook, which has been blocked in China for the past decade, momentarily had plans to open a subsidiary in China previous year, before approval was withdrawn.

Chinese internet users who lost access to Bing set off grumbling about the ruling Communist Party's increasingly tight censorship earlier today. The search engine had been censoring searches in China.

Its research division - Microsoft Research Asia - is also an established presence in Beijing with a new AI lab opening in Shanghai. "If there were searches going on providing results the Chinese government didn't like, it wouldn't surprise me if they blocked the site", Enderle said.

"Bing has a tiny market share in China, but appearance matters to Beijing", said Lokman Tsui, associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and former head of free expression at Google in Asia.

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