Microsoft's Search Engine Bing Embroiled in Child Pornography Scandal

An investigative report published by AntiToxin reveals that the popular Microsoft search engine Bing provided images of child pornography when requested in search. Moreover, the search engine went as far as suggesting additional search terms that led users to more illicit images on typing in queries.

An anonymous informant tipped TechCrunch prompting it to commission the online safety startup company, AntiToxin, to investigate. AntiToxin is a firm specializing in technologies to protect people from abuse. The firm conducted research from 30th December, 2018 to January 7th, 2019. Researchers at the firm found that Bing displayed images of child pornography when the “safe search” filter feature was off. Terms like “porn kids” and “nude family kids” displayed a variety of pornographic content. Even more shocking is the fact that Bing suggested porn related keywords once users clicked on photos.

TechCrunch forwarded the shocking details of the report to Microsoft prompting a response from the search engine’s chief vice president Jordi Ribas: "We acted immediately to remove them, but we also want to prevent any other similar violations in the future.", he explained further, "We’re focused on learning from this so we can make any other improvements needed”.

Other internet and social media platforms have also been found guilty of facilitating child pornography including Whatsapp which is still unable to curb sharing of illicit pornography. The Tumblr app has also been complicit in facilitating child porn and was temporarily removed from the Apple app store.

AntiToxin further reported that even after search for such terms was blocked from the search engine; few keywords, not all, still displayed illegal pornography on Bing.
Related: Social Media - A Gateway for Child Predators?
It is deeply disappointing that big technology firms that monopolize the industry act so recklessly when it comes to online security and safety. Instead of prioritizing profit and growth, technology firms must focus in creating a safe environment online.

Microsoft Bing was suggesting offensive search terms

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