Microsoft deny China censorship

12 February 2014

china GreatFire.org, a group which focuses on China-based freedom of speech, said in a statement that Microsoft search engine, Bing, was filtering search results for search terms like "Dalai Lama", on behalf of the Chinese authorities (who think that the Dalai Lama is a violent political separatist).

Microsoft said it was a system fault that had removed some search results for users outside China and this is nothing like that time they censored the Chinese versions of their smartphones and Skype. Nothing at all.

"Due to an error in our system, we triggered an incorrect results removal notification for some searches noted in the report but the results themselves are and were unaltered outside of China," Stefan Weitz, senior director for Bing.

You'll notice that Weitz didn't say whether or not they'd fixed the problem or, indeed, if the Bing team have any intention of sorting this out.

And what did Microsoft tell China? Well, they sent out an edited version of their statement to Chinese media organisations and handily omitted any references to GreatFire.org. Why? A China-based Mircosoft spokesperson said: "There were too many points in the original statement."

It goes without saying that China isn't too keen on social media networks and censorship is not something Chinese governments have ever shied away from. This means that any internet companies wanting to work there have to be careful or cavalier. They usually choose 'careful' because there's a lot of money to be made from the Chinese market. Still, you have to assume that the comment sections on Chinese website aren't a cesspit of flaccid yelling and people saying "everything isn't as good as it used to be!", which is something.

Thank goodness that there's absolutely no examples of internet giants kowtowing to governments in the West, eh?

TOPICS:   Technology   World News

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