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Bing Filters Out Offensive Words In Arab Countries

A research conducted by the Open Net Initiative, an entity which monitors the net filtering and surveillance done by nations, has revealed that Microsoft's Bing search engine filters search results related to sexually explicit material such as gay, bisexual, lesbian and transvestites in Arab countries.

ONI, a joint venture between several leading academic institutions, conducted the Bing search test in four Arabic countries on the basis of level of internet filtering done by the governments.

The countries were United Arab Emirates, which filters political and sexually explicit content, Algeria, which is open to all kinds of search keywords, Syria, which blocks political content and sex words and Jordan, which only filters political content.

It was found that Bing search engine blocks Arabic terms for "sex," "porn," "intercourse," "breast," and "nude." so that websites containing the 'offensive' content is not opened by users.

Meanwhile, the search engine also filters web sites by default that contain content related to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transvestites.

When such words were searched on the search engine, a pop-up message greeted users claiming that "Your country or region requires a strict Bing SafeSearch setting, which filters out results that might return adult content."

Our Comments

ONI, which rallies for internet freedom, tested the search engine by manually entering 100 Arabic key words and 60 English keywords, using both Arabic and English interfaces of Microsoft's search engine offering.

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