June 4 (Reuters) — Microsoft Corp on Friday blamed “unintended human error” for its Bing search engine not displaying picture outcomes for the question “tank man” in the USA and elsewhere after customers raised issues about doable censorship across the Tiananmen Sq. crackdown anniversary.
Customers, together with in the UK, Germany and Singapore, reported Friday that after they carried out the search Bing returned the message, “There aren’t any outcomes for tank man.”
David Greene, civil liberties director on the nonprofit Digital Frontier Basis, mentioned that content material moderation was unattainable to do completely and “egregious errors are made on a regular basis.”
However he mentioned it might be extra sinister: “At worst, this was purposeful suppression on the request of a strong state.”
Hours after Microsoft acknowledged the problem, the “tank man” search returned solely footage of tanks elsewhere on the planet.
“Tank man” is commonly used to explain an unidentified particular person famously pictured standing earlier than tanks in China’s Tiananmen Sq. throughout pro-democracy demonstrations in June 1989.
Microsoft mentioned the problem was “resulting from an unintended human error and we’re actively working to resolve this.”
Smaller serps corresponding to DuckDuckGo that license outcomes from Microsoft confronted related points round “tank man” searches and mentioned they anticipated a repair quickly.
Rival Google confirmed many outcomes for the well-known picture when the “tank man” search was carried out on Friday.
30 years after Tiananmen Sq. bloodbath, China’s restrictions on freedom stay
A big proportion of the Microsoft staff who work on Bing are primarily based in China, together with some who work on image-recognition software program, in accordance with a former worker.
China is understood to require serps working in its jurisdiction to censor outcomes, however these restrictions are not often utilized elsewhere.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif. and Joseph Menn in San Francisco Enhancing by Matthew Lewis and Cynthia Osterman)