Bing Censors Image Search for “Tank Man” Even in US
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Bing, the Microsoft-owned search engine, does not display image results for a search for “Tank man”, even when searching from the United States. The apparent censorship comes on the anniversary of China’s violent crackdown on protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
“There are no results for tank man,” the Bing website read after searching for the term. “Tank man” refers to the infamous image of a single protester standing in front of a row of Chinese tanks during the crackdown.
China is censoring and blocking the broadcast of discussions about the Man in the Tank and Tiananmen Square in general. This year anniversary events in Hong Kong have shrunk in size after authorities banned a vigil.
Bing displays ordinary search results, without an image, for a tanker when searching from a US IP address; the problem only affects the images and videos tabs. Google, on the other hand, displays both when connecting from the same IP address.
Motherboard verified that the issue also impacted image searches on Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, both of which use Bing. Neither company immediately responded to a request for comment.
Do you work at Bing or do you know anything else about this incident? We would love to hear from you. Using a non-business phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on [email protected], or send an email to [email protected]
Several Twitter users also sent Motherboard images of the lack of image results on Bing when connecting from France, Switzerland and other countries.
Shane Huntley of the Google Threat Analysis Group first tweeted a screenshot of the Bing search result. Security researcher Kevin Beaumont also tweeted the same results from what he said it was a search from a UK IP address. Motherboard also replicated the search on a US IP address.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This article has been updated to include additional information on affected countries and search engines.