Microsoft says Friday that search engine Bing in the United States did not return any results from its “Tank Man” search due to an “accidental human error”. It was only on Friday, 32 years ago, that the Chinese army brutally crushed the Tiananmen struggle in Beijing. Pictures of a protester standing in front of a tank column have become a symbol of the Tiananmen Square demonstration. The lack of search results on Friday sparked global fears about Chinese censorship.
Users from Germany and Singapore reported on Friday that they received a message on Bing saying ‘Tank Menu has no results’ while searching for pictures of the heroic opponent. A few hours after Microsoft acknowledged the problem, internet users still could not access the images of the individual opponent, but only the images of the tanks.
Similar issues arose on Friday with smaller search engines such as Tuck Tuck Go operating under a Microsoft license. Issues related to this did not arise at Google on Friday.
A significant percentage of the employees who work at Bing on behalf of Microsoft do so from China. According to the former employee, they also include employees responsible for image recognition software.
China needs search engines to audit search results for users in China, but the results are rarely seen outside the People’s Republic.
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