Bing returns online after an accidental technical error has reportedly been blocked.
According to Bloomberg News sources, Microsoft’s Bing could not be accessed in China on Thursday due to an accidental technical error rather than for censorship reasons.
Access to the Bing search engine of Microsoft has since been restored in China. The company gave no further explanation as to why the failure occurred.
On Thursday, Microsoft president Brad Smith told Fox Business that his search engine had been down.
“China people cannot have access to Bing, it’s not the first time it happened. It happens periodically… we are still waiting to find out, “he said.
Smith also recognized that in China, Microsoft has less legal rights than in other countries. “There are some principles for which we believe it is important to stand, “he said.”
And we will sometimes go into the negotiating room and sometimes the negotiations are pretty straightforward. “With Bing, Microsoft tried to comply with Chinese censorship rules. For example, the search engine filtered out political-sensitive terms such as “Dalai Lama “and “Tiananmen “in both English and Chinese language search results according to the GreatFire.org freedom of speech blog based in China.
The temporary block of Microsoft’s Bing comes at a time when tensions between the US and China are on the rise, with the introduction of a bipartisan Bill in the US earlier this month to ban tech sales to Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, and on Wednesday the US intends to extradite Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO.
Both the US and China have already levied tariffs on goods worth $34 billion, and Trump made good on his commitment to escalate the trade war and directed Lighthizer to find another $200 billion worth of products.
Google, Bing’s competitor, withdrew from China in 2010 after revealing that it had been hacked by the government in opposition to its censorship rules. Since then, it has moved from its anti-censorship policy and planned a censored version of its search engine-Dragonfly-for China.
Following the publication of the project in August, 1,000 Google employees signed a letter calling on the search company to stop its efforts to create the censored Chinese search engine.
In November, Google received another open letter protesting against Dragonfly, signed by nearly 300 of its employees. ” Providing ready access to user data to the Chinese government, as required by Chinese law, would make Google complicit in oppression and human rights abusses, “says Google Employees Against Dragonfly in a November Letter. In China, the Internet is heavily censored.
In 2017, China shut down more than 128,000 so-called harmful websites at the time, saying that it was part of efforts to maintain “social stability, “to adopt “vulgar “and pornographic content, and to distribute news without authorization.