Microsoft Censors Web in U. S., Follows Chinese Regime Guidelines
ATLANTA, June 20, 2009 –Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIF) today announced its discovery of strong political censorship exercised by Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, in the United States, by filtering its search results deemed “sensitive” or “subversive” by the Chinese regime.
When searching images with keywords “Tiananmen 1989” in Chinese GIF found the results returned by Bing have nothing related to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. In comparison, Google returned images of tanks and protesting students when queried with the same keywords. When searching the web with the Chinese keyword of “Tiananmen,” GIF did not see any results related to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Bing’s first 500 results, while Google returned them in its first page. All the tests were done from a residential computer in the U. S.
With Chinese keywords “Dalai Lama Tibet”, the top results Bing offered were mostly attacks against Dalai Lama from the Chinese propaganda channels, including two links to cctv.com and one to people.com.cn in its first seven results. Google, on the other hand, topped its results with two VOA news, followed by a link to www.xizang-zhiye.org, a pro-Tibet site.
Bing only returned three results on its first page when queried with the Chinese keywords “Chapter 08”, with the first two attacking Chapter 08, and the last one pointing to a nonexistent page. Google returned much more results than Bing, with many links pointing to the full text of Chapter 08.
Searching “Falun Dafa” in Chinese produced the similarly dramatic results. GIF found the results returned by Bing were mostly Chinese government propaganda attacking this meditation practice, also known as “Falun Gong.” Among the first five search results returned by Bing, four of them are strong attacks against Falun Dafa, with the one an official attack article from the website of the Chinese Embassy in Finland. In comparison, Google returned Falun Dafa’s official website, www.falundafa.org, in its first two results, followed by links to Falundafamuseum.com, faluninfo.net, and an entry on Wikipedia. Bing, on the other hand, did not return www.falundafa.org in the first 470 results GIF examined.
Screen captures of the search results can be viewed at http://hfh.edoors.com/Bing-censors/.
However, if the keywords were entered in English, Bing returned results more similar to Google.
“This is shocking,” said Dr. Shiyu Zhou, Deputy Director of GIF. “People in the U. S. will see almost the same as what people under censorship in China will see on Bing, if they search in Chinese. It seems Microsoft has closely followed the Chinese regime’s censorship guidelines, like Google has been doing in China. But this time it is in the U.S. We do not know what motivated Microsoft to do this.”
About The Global Internet Freedom Consortium
Formed in 2006, the Consortium is an alliance of several leading organizations in developing and deploying anti-censorship technologies for Internet users in oppressive regimes. The Consortium partners have contributed significantly to the advancement of information freedom in China. The anti-censorship technologies that the Consortium members developed have enabled Internet users in China to securely visit websites blocked by the Chinese government, such as those of Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. For more information, visit http://www.internetfreedom.org.
Media Contact: Dr. Shiyu Zhou, 267-246-3792, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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