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Bing not so ‘Bada’ in the Middle East

Microsoft criticized after its search engine is found to censor results for users in Arab countries.

March 7, 2010 6:53 by

Microsoft’s search engine Bing is censoring search results for users in Arab countries, according to the Open Net Initiative (ONI).

Tests conducted by the ONI showed that Bing filtered Arabic and English words for sexually explicit content, along with queries related to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender material.

Attempts to use filtered keywords prompted a message reading “Your country or region requires a strict Bing SafeSearch setting, which filters out results that might return adult content,” said the ONI, quoted by AFP.

“A more targeted approach – either country-based or preferably, defined by the user – is more generally consistent with minimizing the impact on freedom of speech,” the ONI study concluded. “Microsoft has signalled its willingness to be at the forefront in protecting freedom of expression around the world. It is difficult to reconcile this position with Bing’s current filtering standards.”

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