In this June 5, 1989 file photo, a man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Cangan Blvd. in Tiananmen Square.” (AP Photo/Jeff Widener)

In this June 5, 1989 file photo, a man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Cangan Blvd. in Tiananmen Square.” (AP Photo/Jeff Widener)

Microsoft blames ‘human error’ for blocking tank man on Tiananmen Square anniversary

Microsoft’s Bing search engine briefly did not show image results for the search term “tank man” on the anniversary of the bloody military crackdown in 1989

Microsoft Corp. blamed “accidental human error” for its Bing search engine briefly not showing image results for the search term “tank man” on the anniversary of the bloody military crackdown in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Users in different parts of the world, including the U.S., said Friday that no image results were returned when they searched for the term “tank man.”

“Tank man” refers to the iconic image of a standoff between an unidentified civilian and a line of military tanks leaving Beijing’s Tiananmen Square after a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. The photo has become a symbol of defiance around the world.

After being alerted by reporters, Microsoft said in a statement that the issue was “due to an accidental human error and has been resolved.” Hours later, images of “tank man” photographs were returned by the search engine.

The company did not elaborate on what the human error was or how it had happened. Nor did it say how much of its Bing development team is China-based. The company’s largest research and development center outside the United States is in China, and it posted a job in January for a China-based senior software engineer to lead a team that develops the technology powering Bing image search.

Chinese authorities require search engines, websites and social media platforms operating within the country to censor keywords and results deemed politically sensitive or critical of the Chinese government.

References to the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 are blocked in China, as are images relating to the event, such as “tank man.”

Microsoft’s Bing is one of the few international search engines that operate in China, where it abides by local censorship laws and competes with larger Chinese search engines such as Baidu and Sogou.

Bing has a 2.5% market share in China, according to data site Statcounter.

Rival Google exited the Chinese market in 2010 after four years of operation, following disputes over censorship and a major hacking attack that Google believes originated in China.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Internet and Telecom

Just Posted

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Hirsch Creek Golf Course Volunteer, Augie Penner, talking about how he continues the tradition, set by Joe Atamchuck, to catch and release fry that keep spawning at the course. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
VIDEO: Kitimat golf course volunteers making moves for the fishlings

During the highwater season, salmon are known to lay their eggs in the ponds at the golf course

Ocean Wise’s cetacean photogrammetry research program uses aerial images collected by boat-launched drones to measure the body condition of whales. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal License MML-18 photo)
LNG Canada commits $750K to whale research, conservation initiative

Ocean Wise education team will work alongside educational and Indigenous leaders in the area

The Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be closed from June 28 until September 13 for annual facility maintenance as well as teach pool and decking repairs. (Black Press photo)
Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre closed: June 28 – September 13

The aquatic centre will be closed for annual facility maintenance

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read