Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Bing search engine is under attack, once again, over the Chinese censorship issue. Chinese web monitoring firm GreatFire has raised objections over the way Bing shows search results in China. GreatFire found that Microsoft’s search engine censors heavily in the world’s most populous country, even more than Chinese company Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU).
Is Microsoft’s search engine more obedient to Chinese government?
On February 11 this year, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) faced heavy criticism when GreatFire found that Bing censors China-related information even outside the country. Searches for the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, jailed 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, and the Dalai Lama produced different results even in the U.S. The software giant later said that it was an error, rather than censorship. The company said that Bing search results won’t be modified outside China to accommodate Chinese law.
The latest findings are about Bing’s censorship within China. GreatFire analysed Bing’s search results for more than 30,000 non-sensitive and sensitive query terms. The web monitoring organization conducted these searches from outside and inside of China. It found that the Chinese version of Bing has a list of forbidden terms that yield no results. GreatFire identified 139 of them. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s search engine has a blacklist of websites that are never shown to Chinese users. GreatFire successfully identified 329 such blacklisted websites. Moreover, it has a huge blacklist of URLs that it never shows to Chinese users.
Microsoft lifts ban from Wikipedia editions in China
GreatFire also found that Bing blocks all results from five different language editions of Wikipedia including German, Dutch, French, Japanese and Swedish. However, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) lifted the ban from these editions of Wikipedia after GreatFire approached it about the issue.
Comparing Bing and Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU), GreatFire said that heweifang2009.blog.163.com is not censored by Baidu and Chinese blog site blog.163.com. But it is completely censored by Bing in China. That site is owned by Professor He Weifang of Peking University, a well-known pro-democracy legal scholar. GreatFire has asked Microsoft why it censors so much content in China.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares ticked up 0.2% to $39.66 in pre-market trading Wednesday.