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5 Jun 2021

Paul Mozur, The New York Times (USA)

Microsoft’s Bing says it briefly blocked ‘Tank Man’ on Tiananmen anniversary due to ‘accidental human error’

"Microsoft’s Bing Briefly Blocked ‘Tank Man’ on Tiananmen Anniversary", 5 June 2021

Microsoft’s Bing search engine briefly blocked images and videos of the famous “tank man” of Tiananmen Square on Friday, the anniversary of China’s massacre of pro-democracy protesters in 1989, in what the company said was an error.

Users outside China reported that the search engine had returned text results for “tank man” — as the unknown person, carrying shopping bags, who blocked a line of tanks in central Beijing after the killings has become known. But Bing’s video and image tabs displayed no references to the event.

It was unclear how geographically widespread the filtering was.

The “tank man” images are routinely blocked within China, as are other references to the military’s crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protesters, which left hundreds or more dead.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement that the filtering was due to “accidental human error” and that the company was working to resolve the problem. By early Saturday, the site was once again returning the video and image results.

Microsoft is the only major foreign company that runs a censored search engine inside China. [...]