Microsoft says Bing’s ‘Tank Man’ censorship was a human error

A search on Microsoft’s search engine Bing for “Tank Man,” the iconic figure of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China, yielded no image results in some US on Friday. Vice was able to produce the same results in the US and I’ve heard from several users in other countries experiencing the same problem.

Strangers still searched for “Tank Man” or “Tiananmen Square Tank Man” and Bing returned general search results. It’s just a mysteriously missing image. when The Verge Contacted Microsoft for clarification.This is due to accidental human error and we are actively working to address this issue. “

Search results for ‘Tank Man’ after the accident.

Unfortunately, given that June 4, 2021 marks the 32nd anniversary of student-led protests in China, this is a sadly timely accident. It’s a rebellion against change in the country where assault rifles, tanks, and genocide met. Microsoft restored the results to a specific search, but still visibly missing well-known images. But if you add a reference to “Tiananmen” or “Tiananmen Square”, you’ll see what to expect. It’s not clear why Bing rates the general image of the tank more than its famous visual history, but they contacted Microsoft to make sure that’s OK.

Search results for “Tank Man” after resolving the issue by Microsoft.

Bing’s presence in China is rather complicated. Search engines disappeared from the country for almost a day in 2019. It’s probably because state-owned telecommunications company China Unicom has been ordered to block it. financial times. Microsoft did not disclose the cause of the outage, but service was eventually restored.

Google had a hard time navigating a modified version of Google Search for China, but faced strict backlash from employees and US regulators about how the product might affect users in those countries.


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