Microsoft Corp has blamed human error after its search engine, Bing, blocked image and video results for the phrase “tank man” — a reference to the iconic image of a lone protester facing down tanks during the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square — on the 32nd anniversary of the military crackdown.
Users reported that no results were shown for the search query in countries including France, Germany, Singapore, Switzerland and the US, according to Reuters and Vice News.
References to the pro-democracy protest movement have long been censored in China, where the government maintains strict control over the Internet, but the censorship by Bing extended to users outside China’s “great firewall.”
Microsoft said the issue was “due to an accidental human error and we are actively working to resolve this.”
Smaller search engines, such as DuckDuckGo, that license results from Microsoft faced similar issues around “tank man” searches and said they expected a fix soon.
Rival Google showed many results for the famous image when the “tank man” search was performed on Friday and yesterday.
The incident came amid China’s crackdown on Hong Kong, where it banned the Tiananmen Square anniversary vigil for the second year in a row, and growing concern over the extent to which China can exert economic pressure to enforce its censoriousness overseas.
Just last week, US actor John Cena made a public apology for referring to Taiwan as “a country,” an offense to China, which insists that Taiwan is not an independent state.
US-based tech companies have long struggled to balance their desire to operate in China’s enormous market with the censorship demands of the government.
Microsoft Bing is one of the few foreign search engines that are accessible in China, because the company has agreed to censor results for sensitive terms such as the Dalai Lama, Tiananmen Square or Falun Gong.
In 2016, the New York Times reported that Facebook was working on a secret tool that would allow a third party to censor the platform for Chinese users in exchange for Beijing allowing Facebook to operate within the country.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday issued a rebuttal to former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who said a fistfight in the Legislative Yuan might have been “provoked from the outside” to destabilize Taiwan. Rice made the comment in an online discussion about the AUKUS alliance of Australia, the UK and the US hosted by the Policy Exchange forum in London on Thursday. On mention of Taiwan, she was quoted by The Australian as predicting that Beijing would use paramilitary forces and acts of sabotage to destabilize the nation. “There was a fistfight in the Taiwanese parliament a few weeks ago
ADVANCING TECH: With revenue on target to reach US$15.4 billion, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker said it is looking to produce 3-nanometer chips later this year Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday announced plans to build a new plant in Japan next year to produce 22-nanometer and 28-nanometer chips in its latest effort to expand its global manufacturing footprint. The Japanese fab is to start operations in 2024, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker said, ending months of speculation. “We have received strong commitment to supporting this project from our customers and the Japanese government,” TSMC chief executive officer C.C. Wei (魏哲家) told a quarterly investors’ conference. “We believe the expansion of our global manufacturing footprint will enable us to better serve our customers’ needs and reach global talent,
KNOWN ISSUES: Fire safety issues were found in the 40-year-old building, which previously housed a theater and restaurants, in 2019, last year and May, an official said Forty-six people died and 41 were injured in a building fire that raged out of control for hours overnight in Kaohsiung, authorities said yesterday. Flames and smoke billowed from the lower floors of the 13-story Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) building on Fubei Road in Yancheng District (鹽埕), as firefighters tried to douse the blaze from the street and aerial platforms. The death toll rose steadily through the day as rescue workers searched the combined commercial and residential building. By late afternoon, authorities said 32 bodies had been found, while a further 14 people who showed no signs of life were among 55
China’s recent increase in military exercises and warplane missions near Taiwan was necessary to defend sovereignty and territory, a Chinese official said yesterday, prompting Taipei to say that it had sabotaged peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China’s military flew 56 planes off the southwest coast of Taiwan on a single day earlier this month, a single-day record that capped four days of a sustained pressure campaign involving 149 flights in international airspace. The purpose of the maneuvers was to “fundamentally safeguard the overall interests of the Chinese nation and the vital interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan