Microsoft’s Bing search engine returns to China just a day after users reported outages

Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith

caption
Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith
source
Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • Microsoft search engine Bing is available for use in China after it was temporarily blocked by the Chinese government.
  • Since Google was blocked in 2011, Bing has been the only search engine from a non-Chinese company still accessible to Chinese citizens.
  • China’s strict censorship policy, which has earned the name “the Great Firewall,” has blocked citizen access to several prominent social media platforms and websites for news outlets.
  • In an appearance on FOX Business Network on Thursday, Microsoft president Brad Smith said that China’s block of Bing “is not the first time it’s happened.”

Bing is back online in China just a day after the Microsoft search engine was blocked under the government’s strict online censorship policies.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Business Insider that “service is now restored” after the search engine was “inaccessible” to Chinese citizens. After China removed access to Google back in 2011, Bing was the only search engine from a non-Chinese company that remained.

Reports of Bing outages first surfaced on social media Wednesday from users in China who were unable to access Bing’s Chinese website, cn.bing.com.

The Financial Times reported that the Chinese government cited “illegal content” as the reasoning for the block. The same reasoning has been used by Chinese authorities in the past to block Chinese citizens from accessing popular social media platforms (like Facebook, Google, and Twitter) and prominent news outlets (like the BBC, the New York Times, and Bloomberg).

Bing is the latest website to be blocked in China behind what has been nicknamed the “Great Firewall.”

In the past, China has implemented temporary blocks on websites before restoring them or blocking them permanently. It’s unclear which category the block on Bing falls into. In an appearance on FOX Business Network on Thursday, Microsoft president Brad Smith said that China’s block of Bing “is not the first time it’s happened.”