Bing? That’s the Sound of Microsoft’s Search Engine Blocking All Things Gay For Arab Users

Bing.com is Microsoft’s search engine, or decision engine, if you quote their marketing speak. It’s their attempt to get the entire world to stop saying “Let me Google that” and start saying “Let me Bing that.” So what type of decisions is Bing churning out for Arab users searching for anything gay?


Bing users in Arab countries searching for “gay,” “lesbian,” or “homosexuality” are met with the warning, “Your country or region requires a strict Bing SafeSearch setting, which filters out results that might return adult content.” The Open Net Initiative says Bing filtered out the Arabic words for “sex”, “porn”, “intercourse”, “breast”, “nude”, “whore” and “sadism” in those countries, as well as “sex”, “fuck”, “penis”, “sodomy”, “homo”, “sexual”, “sexy”, “clitoris” and “anal.” “Vagina,” however, yields results.

And there’s no getting around it, at least not easily. Bing users in these countries cannot disable the SafeSearch option.

Is this part of a pact between Microsoft and these Arab governments to let the site do business there? Just like Google originally volunteered to censor results for Google.cn to please the Chinese government, Bing’s practice of censoring risque sexual words, and anything to do with homosexuality, could very well be a business move to curry favor with Arab states who frown on that tres Western idea of frank dialogue about sex. And the right to free porn.

And just when the company was working so hard to revamp its gay-unfriendly image.