Microsoft Bing still censoring Tiananmen Square image searches – Business Insider

  • Microsoft search engine Bing is censoring image searches around the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
  • Images of the infamous “tank man” and autocomplete suggestions weren’t being shown to users.
  • Microsoft claimed it was a “human error,” but image searches still appeared to be missing results hours later.
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Microsoft-owned search engine Bing was not displaying any image results to US users who searched for the term “tank man” on Friday, and it appeared to be down-ranking some image searches for other terms related to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

“This is due to an accidental human error and we are actively working to resolve this,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Insider.

But hours later, the search engine still appeared to be filtering out images of China’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests, as well as hiding autocomplete suggestions referencing the event.

Microsoft Bing appeared to be hiding autocomplete suggestions for searches related to the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Microsoft Bing appeared to be hiding autocomplete suggestions for searches related to the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Screenshot/Microsoft

Vice earlier reported that users in France, Switzerland, and the UK also saw no results when searching Bing for images of “tank man.”

Insider was able to confirm the lack of image results for US users, and also found significant discrepancies between the image results for “Tiananmen Square tank man” shown by Bing versus Google.

Microsoft Bing showed users pictures of Tiananmen Square's "Gate of Heavenly Peace," while Google showed the infamous image of a protestor in front of Chinese tanks.
Microsoft Bing showed users pictures of Tiananmen Square’s “Gate of Heavenly Peace,” while Google showed the infamous image of a protestor in front of Chinese tanks.
Screenshot/Microsoft/Google

Microsoft’s apparent censorship came on the anniversary of the student-led protests, in which the Chinese military killed at least hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989. The phrase “tank man” refers to an infamous photo of a single protestor obstructing the path of Chinese tanks.

Beijing has recently cracked down on vigils and protests within China and Hong Kong seeking to mark the Tiananmen Square protests.

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Microsoft Bing still censoring Tiananmen Square image searches – Business Insider

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