BING self censorship in Arab countries

03 Apr 2010
Posted by Laptop Junction

Microsoft recently added new filtering and censorship practices via its own search engine, Bing. Testing from the Open Net Initiative (ONI) reveals liberal filtering by Bing in one of the most censored regions in the world: the Arab countries.

Microsoft’s Bing, which tailors its search engine to serve different countries and regions and offers its services in 41 languages, has a filtering system at the keyword level for users in several countries. Users in the Arab countries—or, as termed by Microsoft—“Arabian countries”—are prevented from conducting certain search queries in both English and Arabic.

It is interesting that Microsoft’s implementation of this type of wholesale social content censorship for the entire “Arabian countries” region is in fact not being practiced by many of the Arab government censors themselves. That is, although political filtering is widespread in the MENA region, social filtering, including keyword filtering, is not practiced by all countries in MENA. ONI 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 testing and research found no evidence of social content filtering at the national level in countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Libya.

Read about it at OpenNet in the article "Sex, Social Mores, and Keyword Filtering: Microsoft Bing in the "Arabian Countries"