Microsoft's Bing search engine accessible in China again

Dwayne Harmon
January 27, 2019

Internet users in mainland China have begun to report that Microsoft Corp.'s Bing search engine is accessible again after outages in the country persisted for many hours Thursday. The source said that a state-owned telecoms company, China Unicom, confirmed the government order to block the engine.

Search engine Google launched the main Google service in China since 2010, but in August of 2018 leaked documents violated the company's plans for the preparation of a censored version of its search engine in a custom Android app to run in China. "We've confirmed that Bing is now inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps", a Microsoft spokesperson later told PCMag without elaborating.

The government's Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) watchdog did not respond to faxed questions about Bing's blocked website. Microsoft's Bing was one of the few services developed by a USA company to remain available in the country, in spite of competing with local government-connected services.

Although Twitter is blocked, it maintains a Greater China office because Chinese customers can use the platform to advertise overseas. Additionally, it is one of the few services developed by Microsoft that is available in China.

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Chinese filters block access to global social media including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Beijing is intensifying its campaign to scrub the domestic internet, which it perceives as a growing threat to social stability as the online ecosystem booms. Microsoft Bans Cryptocurrency Ads on Bing Search Engine.

Last year, Chinese authorities also launched a renewed attack on VPN providers, whose services can be used to circumvent censored sites and services.

"Providing the Chinese government with ready access to user data, as required by Chinese law, would make Google complicit in oppression and human rights abuses", the November letter created by Google Employees Against Dragonfly states. A market leader with a share of 70% remains local service Baidu. In a statement given to VentureBeat, Microsoft said it's investigating the issue, yet the organization has not yet affirmed that Bing is down because of any sort of Chinese government intercession or an outright ban. In fact, Chinese authorities have not even confirmed they have blocked Bing.

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