Bing appears to succumb to censorship in China as search engine becomes inaccessible

Updated January 24, 2019: Bloomberg reports that Bing is once again available in China. The outage, according to the report, was due to a technical error, rather than intentional censorship. The original story follows.

China this week appeared to block Bing search, according to The New York Times. The site is currently inaccessible within the country, making it the latest western tech company to fall outside of China's "Great Firewall."

It's unclear if the block is permanent, but a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that "Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps."

A permanent block on Bing would leave Chinese internet users to rely solely on Baidu, the largest search engine within the country. That's despite efforts by Microsoft to comply with the censorship policies of the Chinese government. Searches for topics deemed controversial by the governing Communist Party, for example, are removed from Bing or populated with approved results.

Bing wouldn't be the first western service to be censored from China's internet. Facebook, Twitter, and Google–all dominating platforms around the world–can only be accessed within China through methods used to circumvent censorship, exposing users to legal action.

Thus far, the Chinese authorities have not commented on Bing's apparent censorship.