Microsoft Corp on Friday blamed “accidental human error” for its Bing search engine not displaying picture outcomes for the question “tank man” within the United States and elsewhere after customers raised issues about doable censorship across the Tiananmen Square crackdown anniversary.
Users, together with within the United Kingdom, Germany and Singapore, reported Friday that once they carried out the search Bing returned the message, “There are no results for tank man.”
David Greene, civil liberties director on the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, mentioned that content material moderation was inconceivable to do completely and “egregious mistakes are made all the time.”
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But he mentioned it may very well be extra sinister: “At worst, this was purposeful suppression at the request of a powerful state.”
Hours after Microsoft acknowledged the problem, the “tank man” search returned solely photos of tanks elsewhere on this planet.
“Tank man” is commonly used to describe an unidentified individual famously pictured standing earlier than tanks in China’s Tiananmen Square throughout pro-democracy demonstrations in June 1989.
Microsoft mentioned the problem was “due to an accidental human error and we are actively working to resolve this.”
Smaller search engines like google and yahoo akin to DuckDuckGo that license outcomes from Microsoft confronted comparable points round “tank man” searches and mentioned they anticipated a repair quickly.
Rival Google confirmed many outcomes for the well-known picture when the “tank man” search was carried out on Friday.
A big share of the Microsoft staff who work on Bing are based mostly in China, together with some who work on image-recognition software, in accordance to a former worker.
China is thought to require search engines like google and yahoo working in its jurisdiction to censor outcomes, however these restrictions are hardly ever utilized elsewhere.