February 24, 2020

China blocks Microsoft’s Bing search engine

hina has blocked Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, from operating within its territory. The search engine’s home page too remains inaccessible from within mainland China. With this, the Redmond, Washington based company has joined the list of US-based tech giant being prohibited from operating in the country.

The news has been confirmed by Microsoft, which in a statement to Reuters said that it was determining its next steps in the country. “We’ve confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps,” the company said in a statement.

Microsoft’s Bing was the only major search engine accessible with the Chinese firewall since the country banned Google back in 2010. It operated by censoring search results on sensitive topics, as has been demanded by the Xi Jinping government.

Ban on Bing, as the publication noted, is the second major blow to the tech giant since November 2017 when its video calling platform Skype was taken down from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

However, Bing is not the only internet-based service that has been blocked/taken down in the country. China’s internet regulator, Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has deleted over 7 million pieces of online content and 9,832 mobile applications and shut down 733 websites operating in the country.

The regulator has described the action as a part of its clean-up to stop harmful and unacceptable content from being available in the country. CAC also singled out Tencent’s news app for failing to make changes that would stop the spread of “vulgar and low-brow information” that was damaging the country’s internet ecosystem.

Notably, this is not the first time that CAC has initiated a cleanup or blocked websites and apps from operating in China. Last year in August, China banned all BBC websites in the country after the publication transitioned from HTTP to a more-secure and widely accepted HTTPS standard. Almost a month later, the country abruptly banned people in the country from accessing the Australian Broadcasting Corp websites in the country. Prior to that, China had banned a host of websites back in 2014. Research groups at the time had stated that the incident was an attempt to target the network operated by Edgecast, which is a subsidiary of the US-based Verizon Communications.

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