The Streisand Effect strikes again.
This time, it’s been manifested via Microsoft’s Bing search engine, and the fact that, on June 4 -- the 32nd anniversary of the horrific Chinese government slaughter of what China claims was just 200 people, but the U.K. government claims was 10,000, in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square -- those who used Bing to look for images of the iconic “Tank Man” who stood against a line of the war machines didn’t get the image.
They got this:
There are no results for ‘Tank Man’
Check your spelling or try different keywords.
This coming from the Bill Gates-started mega-corporation that, only as recently as 2019, got permission from the communist party rulers in China to be visible to the victims of the all-seeing government.
China censors and blocks distribution of discussion of tank man and Tiananmen Square more generally. This year, anniversary events in Hong Kong have dwindled in size after authorities banned a vigil.
And, somehow, in some crazy, bizarre, completely inexplicable way, newly admitted-to-China search engine, BING, changes its search results on the ANNIVERSARY OF THE SLAUGHTER so that the most iconic image of the Tiananmen Square peace protesters and their powerful stand against the machinery of the authoritarian state – that PARTICULAR image is nowhere to be found.
And, though millions of people brought this to Microsoft’s attention, and millions saw information about the censorship, Bing’s paramour-like relationship with the Chinese government seems to have made the corporation move more slowly than a panda after a big veggie meal. Wrote Business Insider’s Tyler Sonnemaker later on June 4:
Microsoft-owned search engine Bing was not displaying any image results to US users who searched for the term ‘tank man’ on Friday, and it appeared to be down-ranking some image searches for other terms related to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
Not only that, Sonnemaker also informed readers that Bing’s “autocomplete” did not suggest “Tank Man” when associated with “Tiananmen Square” or “China.”
Of course, Microsoft offered an excuse, also noted by Sonnemaker:
“Microsoft claimed it was a ‘human error,’ but image searches still appeared to be missing results hours later.”
But, hey, who could ever imagine a Big Tech corporation CENSORING ideas or images that support individual liberty?
Ironically, not only is this another evidentiary arrow in the quiver of freedom-minded folks to fight Big Tech manipulation of history and current political debate, it’s become a new example of the Streisand Effect.
Just like Barbara Streisand’s complaint that people were taking photos of her LA area mansion inspired more people to publish photos of the leftist’s mansion, Bing’s attempt to hide the classic image of a lone man standing up against a line of Chinese government tanks has inspired more people to hear about the man’s bravery, to look for the image, and to find out about what the Chinese communists did to those innocent people in 1989.
In fact, Bing’s attempt to hide the Tank Man image has inspired so many people to search for stories about the actual Bing censorship that, irony of ironies, for many months from today, those USING BING to look up "Bing censorship", will see stories on...
Bing, meet Barbra.
The Streisand Effect is fully operational.