Microsoft on Friday blamed “unintended 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 considerations about attainable 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 aren’t any outcomes for tank man.”
David Greene, civil liberties director on the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, mentioned that content material moderation was not possible to do completely and “egregious errors are made on a regular basis.”
But he mentioned it may very well be extra sinister: “At worst, this was purposeful suppression on the request of a strong state.”
Hours after Microsoft acknowledged the problem, the “tank man” search returned solely footage of tanks elsewhere on the planet.
“Tank man” is usually used to explain 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 “as a result of an unintended human error and we’re actively working to resolve this.”
Smaller search engines like google and yahoo comparable to DuckDuckGo that license outcomes from Microsoft confronted related 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 major share of the Microsoft workers who work on Bing are primarily based in China, together with some who work on image-recognition software program, in response 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.
© Thomson Reuters 2021