Following the release of a viral article that talked about Baidu’s faults as a search engine, Bing was reportedly blocked for a short time in China.
Multiple outlets reported that some internet users complained of Bing’s service as they were unable to access the search engine at some point on Thursday. The news comes after an article about Baidu released earlier this week sparked concerns among netizens.
Some netizens complained that they couldn’t use Bing for some time on Thursday. The incident has ignited rumors about Beijing’s Great Firewall possibly blocking the search engine.
According to Abacus News, Microsoft has restored Bing’s services on Friday. Still, internet users who prefer Bing over Baidu are worried as China continues to filter content that citizens are allowed to access.
While Baidu is still the number one search engine in China, the public outcry earlier this week caused a lot of netizens to express disapproval for the search engine. FanMo wrote on Zhihu, “I’ve basically dropped Baidu. The world feels so refreshing all of a sudden. I’ve been using Bing.”
Others agreed with journalist Fang Kecheng’s sentiments in his article that suggested Baidu had been prioritizing content from its blog-style service Baijiahao. The blog has over 1.9 million users, data retrieved from the company revealed.
Fang, who is a media scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication and a veteran journalist in politics, released an article titled “Search Engine Baidu is Dead” and the article has since been viewed over a million times.
“Baidu.com is no longer a place for you to search for content on China’s internet, but rather an internal search for Baidu content,” Fang wrote. His article encouraged talk among analysts and users alike, with some comparing the Beijing-based company to Microsoft’s Bing and Google.
Baidu has dismissed claims that it is pushing Baijiahao content on top of search results. The company explained through a statement on Weibo that Baijiahao results make up less than 10 percent of what users get when they search for various topics.
Both Baidu and Bing’s problems took place amid China’s fight against uncensored content, Quartz reported. On Thursday, the government’s internet regulator stated that around 7 million articles and pieces of content have been removed from the Chinese internet. Thousands of apps have also been knocked out in just a matter of 18 days.
It is unclear how Baidu and Bing will bounce back from the problems it faced this week under the Chinese government’s surveillance. However, some experts have stated that China’s decision to filter content is one way to battle threats against national security.