Uh-oh, ugly truth time. Although search engines help us find what we need over a trillion times a year, they manipulate results, get sued and lose lawsuits, track you and censor based on what country you’re in when using their algorithms.
In February of this year the Guardian reported that Bing had been censoring the search results in China. That came as no surprise as it was done in accordance with Chinese law. However, the selectivity didn’t seem to stop at the Chinese border.
“The article asserted that Bing search results for Chinese language speakers in the US were radically different than those in English for controversial terms such as Tiananmen Square or Dalai Lama: Microsoft’s search engine Bing appears to be censoring information for Chinese language users in the US in the same way it filters results in mainland China,” wrote Greg Sterling on the issue.
Microsoft was quick to reply that is was a simple mistake.
“Bing responded to the allegations by saying that the only time it adjusts search results is to ‘comply with local law or for quality or safety reasons such as child abuse or malware.’ It insisted that Bing search results outside of China would not be modified in any way to accommodate Chinese law,” wrote Kaylene Hong.
Could Bing and Microsoft being succumbing to the pressures of the Chinese government in exchange for dominant search control in that region of over 1.3 billion humans? And if that were the case, what other countries might be trying to buy search control and filter results?
The crawlers, however, are arguing they are against censorship. In November of 2013 a French court ruled against Google in terms of content they could show in relation to a sex scandal concerning Max Mosley, stating Google had to “remove and cease, for a period of five years beginning two months after this decision, the appearance of nine images,” Reuters reported.
Google has recently starting encrypting search globally, making government censorship more difficult.
“The company says the move is part of a global expansion of privacy technology designed to thwart surveillance by government intelligence agencies,” reported Craig Timberg.
Sources: SearchEngineLand.com, Thenextweb.com, Searchenginewatch.com and The Washington Post