Microsoft’s Bing search engine goes offline in China

Author: 
AFP
ID: 
1548295512616784100
Thu, 2019-01-24 05:40

BEIJING: Microsoft was investigating a disruption in its Bing
search engine in China on Thursday, with social media users fearing
it could be the latest foreign website to be blocked by
censors.
Attempts to open cn.bing.com has resulted in an error message for
users since Wednesday.
“We’re aware of reports that Bing may be inaccessible to some
customers in China and are investigating,” a Microsoft
spokesperson said in a statement.
China’s Communist authorities operate an online censorship
apparatus known as the “Great Firewall,” which blocks a slew of
websites including Facebook, Twitter and several foreign media
outlets.
But it was not clear whether or not Bing joined the long list of
prohibited websites, or if its China service was experiencing
technical difficulties.
China’s cyberspace administration could not immediately be
reached for comment.
China’s Great Firewall can be circumvented by using a virtual
private network (VPN), which can hide a user’s IP address.
While its rival Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010
after rows over censorship and hacking, Bing has continued to
operate in the country along with Microsoft-owned Skype.
On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media site, people
complained about the lack of access, with some speculating that
Bing too had been “walled off.”
Others aired their dissatisfaction about having to use Baidu,
China’s largest domestic search service.
“I can’t open Bing, but I don’t want to use Baidu — what to
do?” wrote one user.
“Bing is actually dead — is this to force me to use Baidu??”
said another, cursing.
China has tightened policing of the Internet in recent years,
shuttering 26,000 “illegal” websites in 2018 alone and deleting
six million online posts containing vulgar content, the official
Xinhua news agency said earlier this month.
Bing’s disruption comes as the United States and China are locked
in a bruising trade war, with US accusations that China steals
technological know-how among the core disagreements.
The two sides are scheduled for new trade negotiations next
week.

Source: *FS – All – Science News Net
Microsoft’s Bing search engine goes offline in China