Ground Report | New Delhi: Microsoft has called its search engine Bing an “accidental human error” that it didn’t show any results when it searched for ‘tank man’. Microsoft says that the case was ‘the result of a sudden human error and we are working quickly to correct it.’
The name ‘Tank Man’ has been associated with a man protesting alone who stood in front of a tank at Tiananmen Square in China during the June 1989 protests. But he could never be identified. Later this picture became the hallmark of the strong action of the government, in which thousands of people are feared to be killed.
On Friday, when users searched for ‘tank man’ on Bing, they got the answer ‘no results for tank man’. After this, many criticized Microsoft for missing this picture from the search. This has also bolstered allegations of possible censorship on the anniversary of the protests.
However, on Friday, the 32nd anniversary of these protests, when users from the US, UK, and Singapore tried to search the image on Bing, it was not found. China censors any discussion online about the Tiananmen Square action. This year, large-scale events to commemorate these protests could not be held in Hong Kong after the authorities banned the procession.
China is believed to censor the content shown on search engines under its jurisdiction, but these restrictions are barely applicable in the rest of the world. On the other hand, Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth has said that it is very difficult for him to believe that this has happened by mistake. Several hours after the first complaint about the matter, pictures of Tank Man reappeared in Bing.
Shane Huntley from Google’s Threat Analysis Group first tweeted a screenshot of the Bing search result. Security researcher Kevin Beaumont also tweeted the same results from what he said was a search from a UK IP address. The motherboard also replicated the search on a U.S. IP address.