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ONI investigates Microsoft Bing filtering in the Arab world

ONI investigates Microsoft Bing filtering in the Arab world

The Berkman Center is pleased to share a new bulletin from the OpenNet Initiative: Sex, Social Mores, and Keyword Filtering: Microsoft Bing in the "Arabian Countries". Overview:

Microsoft recently added a new layer of complexity to the ongoing debate regarding the filtering and censorship practices of U.S. search engines via its own search engine, Bing. ONI testing 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.

ONI testing reveals that Microsoft filters Arabic and English keywords that could yield sex- or LGBT-related images and content.

Explore related, recent research from ONI:

And stay tuned for ONI's forthcoming Access Controlled: The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace (MIT Press), which substantially updates ONI's first book, Access Denied.

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