Bing is no longer able to be accessed from China, according to a report from the Financial Times. The search engine is run by Microsoft and is one of the most used in the world behind Google.
At some point in the last two days, people attempting to access Bing from mainland China via the usual cn.bing.com URL discovered that the site was no longer available from inside the country. Rumours suggest that the move to block access to the site by the state-owned telecommunications company, China Unicom, was a result of a direct order from the Chinese government although these claims have yet to be substantiated.
This wouldn’t be the first and almost certainly won’t be the last time a Western website has been blocked by China’s notoriously restrictive internet controls. The so-called ‘Great Firewall of China’ has prevented access to several different sites including social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in favour of state-run versions that often contain a stark similarity to their western versions.
Microsoft has deliberately worked hard to ensure its service was available in China by complying with censorship regulations, but many see this as a fairly predictable move by the Chinese government to further attempt control the flow of information to its population - removing any third parties that could offer a different source that could conflict with government-approved content.
A statement from a Microsoft spokesperson said, “We’ve confirmed Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps.”