Microsoft Corp blamed “accidental human error” for its Bing search engine for not rendering images for “bucket man” search terms in the United States and elsewhere after users raised concerns about possible censorship in the US. During the anniversary of the crackdown of Tiananmen Square
Users, including the UK, Germany and Singapore, reported Friday that when they searched Bing, they returned the message: “No results for Tank man.”
Hours after Microsoft became aware of the issue, a search for “tank man” returned only images of tanks elsewhere in the world.
“Tank man”; is often used to describe an unidentified person. It is famous for standing in front of a tank in China’s Tiananmen Square. During the pro-democracy protests in June 1989
Microsoft says the problem is caused by accidental human error. And we are actively working to resolve this issue.
Smaller search engines such as DuckDuckGo, whose license result from Microsoft, have experienced similar issues with “tank man” searches and said they expect to be fixed soon.
Competitor Google has shown many results for famous images when searching for “tank man” on Friday.
Most of the Microsoft employees who work on Bing are in China. including some people working on image recognition software.
China is known to require search engines operating in its jurisdiction to censor the results. But those restrictions are rarely applied elsewhere.
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David Greene, director of civil liberties at the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation. said content control was completely impossible, and “Serious mistakes happen all the time.”
But he said it could be even more terrifying: “At worst, this was a deliberate repression at the request of a powerful state.”