Earlier this week, Bing, the search engine service run by Microsoft, became unaccessible in China.
Major media outlets rushed to report the story, alleging that it is the latest sign that foreign internet services are facing more and more barriers in the country.
Most, if not all, of these media seems to have missed a peculiar coincidence. Bing became inaccessible very shortly after an article on Baidu, China’s biggest search engine after Google’s departure, became viral.
The article, entitled “Search Engine Baidu is dead“, claims that Baidu is now filled with inaccurate and fake information by individual content generators for the purpose of attracting more views, and thus, more advertising dollars.
The article was read more than 100,000 times (100,000 being largest number WeChat will share publicly) and recommended more than 25,000 times. The top comment is “liked” by more than 19,000 readers.
We can only speculate whether the article and the incident with Bing are related or pure coincidence.
We’ve wrote about Baidu a few times before:
A (not so) widely circulated rumour goes: because so many people are demonstrating their distaste of Baidu by visiting Bing – the only credible search engine alternative, Bing server was actually paralysed as a result.
This, though, is an unlikely reason for Bing’s inaccessibility.
Fortunately, the access has been largely restored across China.