Microsoft Bing censored searches for images related to the Tiananmen Square massacre on its 32nd anniversary – even for US users
- The Microsoft Bing search engine does not show any image results to users searching for “tank man”.
- The phrase refers to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, where Chinese troops killed protesters.
- The apparent censorship comes as Beijing represses vigils in honor of those killed.
- Sign up for the daily 10 Things in Tech newsletter.
Microsoft-owned search engine Bing did not show any image results to US users who searched for the term “tank man” on Friday, and appeared to downgrade some image searches for other terms related to the massacre of the Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Vice reported earlier that users in France, Switzerland and the UK also saw no results when searching for images of “tank man” on Bing.
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 compared to Google.
“This is due to accidental human error and we are actively working to resolve this issue,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Insider.
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 protesters. The phrase “tank man” refers to an infamous photo of a single protester obstructing the path of Chinese tanks.
Beijing recently cracked down on vigils and protests in China and Hong Kong seeking to mark protests in Tiananmen Square.
This is a developing story ….