Science & technology
Microsoft denies global censorship of China-related searches
Publish Date: Feb 12, 2014
Microsoft denies global censorship of China-related searches
A picture showing the search engines Baidu and Bing on a monitor in Shanghai July 5, 2011. PHOTO: Reuters
  • mail
  • img

BEIJING - Microsoft Corp denied omitting websites from its Bing search engine results for users outside China after a Chinese rights group said the U.S. firm was censoring material the government deems politically sensitive., a China-based freedom of speech advocacy group, said in a statement on Tuesday that Bing was filtering out both English and Chinese language search results for terms such as "Dalai Lama", the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader whom Beijing brands as a violence-seeking separatist, charges he denies.
Microsoft, responding to the rights group's allegations, said a system fault had removed some search results for users outside China. The company has in the past come under fire for censoring the Chinese version of internet phone and messaging software Skype.
"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 China," Stefan Weitz, senior director for Bing, said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Wednesday.
Weitz did not say if the error had been fixed and Microsoft officials in Beijing declined to elaborate.
Microsoft sent a shortened version of the statement to China-based media organisations which omitted all reference to and did not address the allegations.
"There were too many points in the original statement," a China-based Microsoft spokeswoman told Reuters.
Reuters reporters found that Bing omitted several websites that showed up on the search engine of rival Google Inc when they searched for "Dalai Lama" in Chinese from Singapore. 
The English-language search results on both engines were similar.
China's ruling Communist Party sees censorship as key to maintaining its grip on power, recognising that social media offers a platform for citizens to air grievances and criticism of the government, a potential trigger for social unrest.
This censorship often means foreign Internet companies must tread a careful path in China to exploit business opportunities without compromising a carefully nurtured image as champions of open societies and free speech.
All internet firms operating in China comply with the government's web censorship requirements.
Microsoft has made no secret of its aim to build a bigger presence in China, a market where its software is widely used but rarely paid for.
Microsoft was criticised for censoring the Chinese version of Skype, which it ran jointly with Hong Kong-based TOM Group. 
In November, Microsoft said it had formed a new joint venture with Guangming Founder, and advocacy group said Skype in China was no longer being censored 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Scientists have sequenced the genome of a 4,500-year-old man in Africa for the first time....
NASA unveils (some) missing pieces in journey to Mars
In reality NASA admits that huge obstacles remain before humans can reach the Red Planet....
Why elephants rarely get cancer
Scientists say they have discovered the secret to the creatures' special protection....
First results of 10-year digital brain project
An ambitious project led by researchers in Switzerland to digitally map the brain has released its first results....
Microsoft unveils Windows 10 smartphones, new laptop
Microsoft unveiled its first Windows 10 smartphones Tuesday as it launched a series of new gadgets in a bid to win a bigger share of the competitive mobile market....
Google aims to get news to smartphones faster
Google laid out a plan Wednesday to make tapping into news on mobile devices faster, keeping eyeballs on stories and people visiting websites....
Should Makerere University fees policy be reviewed?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter