- Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, has been blocked in China.
- China heavily censors what information its citizens can access online, a system that has become known as the “great firewall.”
- In the past, China has cut off the country’s access to several prominent social media platforms and websites, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix.
Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, has become the latest website blocked under China’s strict rules regarding citizen access to online information.
The Financial Times reports that the Chinese government blocked Bing for “illegal content,” a policy that China has used before to explain away its censorship of online content.
China has blocked many of the popular social media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tumblr, and Reddit. China also restricts citizen access to several news outlets, including the New York Times, Bloomberg, BBC, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and Time.
Google’s search engine has been unavailable in China since 2011, according to censorship-tracking group Greatfire.org. For many, Bing was one of the last remaining foreign search engines accessible to Chinese citizens.
Google at one point was helping to build a censored search engine for China. However, the project – named Dragonfly – was reportedly shuttered after facing severe backlash from Google employees.
Under China’s president Xi Jinping, the government has implemented several policies to increase online censorship. Censorship of online platforms has soared in the seven years since Xi took office, human rights organisation PEN America wrote in a 2018 report on China’s control over social media.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed Bing was “currently inaccessible in China” in a statement to the Financial Times. Microsoft did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Social media users in China posted photos to Twitter showing that their access to Bing’s China site, cn.bing.com, was blocked.
Bada bing bada boom: China appears to have blocked the Microsoft search engine pic.twitter.com/pNylXTgRX9
— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) January 24, 2019
— Morgan Mellor (@morganmellor) January 24, 2019
Has Bing been blocked in China?! A mediocre search engine yes, but…FML pic.twitter.com/EH1vlgQLvd
— TJMa (@TJMa_beijing) January 23, 2019
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