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Report: Search engine Bing makes it easy to find child porn

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Child pornography can easily be found online by using Microsoft’s Bing search engine, TechCrunch reports.

Following an anonymous tip, TechCrunch reports that it commissioned an investigation into the matter from online safety startup AntiToxin and discovered that the search engine not only displayed graphic imagery but suggested related keywords as well.

In one such example, researchers searched for “Omegle Kids,” a reference to the popular video chat app, and were met with both illegal child exploitation imagery and auto-complete suggestions such as “Omegle Kids Girls 13.”

Upon clicking on the images, the AntiToxin team was then showed more illegal content by the search engine’s “Similar Images” feature.

“Internet companies like Microsoft Bing must invest more in combating this kind of abuse through both scalable technology solutions and human moderators,” TechCrunch’s Josh Constine writes. “There’s no excuse for a company like Microsoft, which earned $8.8 billion in profit last quarter, to be underfunding safety measures.”

TechCrunch also notes that similar searches made on Google “did not produce as clearly illegal imagery or as much concerning content as did Bing.”

The AntiToxin investigation, which ran from Dec. 30, 2018, to Jan. 7, 2019, was made with Bing’s “Safe Search” feature turned off under “proper legal oversight.”

Jordi Ribas, Microsoft’s chief vice president of Bing & AI Products, called the investigation’s findings “unacceptable” when questioned on the report.

“Clearly these results were unacceptable under our standards and policies and we appreciate TechCrunch making us aware,” Ribas said. “We acted immediately to remove them, but we also want to prevent any other similar violations in the future. We’re focused on learning from this so we can make any other improvements needed.”

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H/T TechCrunch

Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is a freelance journalist based in Seattle, covering all things technology, including social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.