Update: Bing has mysteriously made a return in China. According to Bloomberg, users are once again able to access the search engine in the country. It’s still not clear exactly why it was banned, what/if Microsoft changed anything. Original story follows.
Microsoft’s search engine Bing.com is no longer accessible in China. Users of the search engine from the country started reporting the issue as of last night, and Microsoft later confirmed that the search engine is indeed inaccessible in China.
It is not clear exactly why Bing.com has been blocked, though China’s state-owned telecom China Unicom has confirmed that the order to ban Bing.com came from the Chinese government. “We’ve confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Bloomberg.
Bing isn’t obviously the only western service that is blocked in China, other popular services like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been long blocked in the region due to the government’s censorship. Microsoft, however, did comply with the Chinese government’s policies to keep Bing from being blocked, though something must have changed for the latest ban.
Bing getting blocked in China is a huge deal and it just highlights the continued abuse of power from the Chinese government. It’s no secret that the government has been cracking down on western services for a while, though it’s control over the internet is only getting worse over time. And if you are in China relying on Bing as your main search engine, that’s certainly going to affect your daily life as you will now be limited to using China’s Baidu search engine, or another alternative.
Microsoft did say the company is “engaged” to figure out what’s next here, so this story will likely develop over the coming days.