Microsoft is censoring Tiananmen Square Tank Man searches worldwide

by Surur
June 4, 2021
tank man

Today is the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, which saw more than 200 pro-democracy protestors killed by the Chinese government, but if you are using Bing to do your research you may not think anything odd ever happened.

If you search for the iconic Tank Man image on Bing, this is the message that meets you.

The same search on Google delivers very different results.

The difference is of course that Microsoft’s Bing operates in China, while Google does not.

Interestingly DuckDuckGo produces very similar results to Bing, likely because it derives much of its data from them.

It is of course appropriate for Microsoft to follow local laws in the countries they operate in, but it is very inappropriate to censor the rest of the world based on instructions from Beijing.

Microsoft has shown a distinct eagerness to cooperate with governments, with the Australian Google and Facebook Tax being a recent example. The move raises the question if any Bing searches can be trusted to deliver untainted results.

Update: In a statement to Business Insider Microsoft said:

“This is due to an accidental human error and we are actively working to resolve this.”

Microsoft did not expand on what the error was, but it seems likely that it was to implement Chinese censorship worldwide.

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