Techdirt, which appears to be a fairly popular and well-trafficked tech site (note I am not too familiar with it) now no longer appears in Bing’s search results. From Mr. Mike Masnick:
This morning, however, someone alerted me to the fact that DuckDuckGo currently shows zero results for Techdirt. Not even some random old article. Zero. None. Zilch.
Of course, DDG is powered by Bing, so I went to check Bing, and sure enough there’s nothing there:
Bing appears to have deleted all links to Techdirt. Though at least it tells you that “some results have been removed.” Though it doesn’t say why.Mike Masnick (Techdirt)
I duly updated my GitHub repository on Bing bans with the new story. The news also generated discussion on Hacker News. Much of the discussion focused on the downstream effect that Bing bans have on Bing-dependent search engines such as DuckDuckGo, which was a topic of interest of mine before Bing blocked The New Leaf Journal in January 2023.
The Techdirt article lacks useful information about what happened. For example, it is unclear from the article whether Bing is blocking Techdirt links in its index from appearing in results or whether Bing de-indexed Techdirt. For example, we were blocked from appearing in Bing results from January through March before actually being de-indexed.
I assume that the Techdirt situation will be resolved expeditiously because it is a well-known site. Indeed, the CEO of DuckDuckGo chimed in to tout the fact that DuckDuckGo added a link to Techdirt’s homepage above some Techdirt searches while trying to get around the implication that DuckDuckGo cannot restore regular search results for sites that are being blocked by Bing. To the best of my knowledge, DuckDuckGo does not ordinarily undertake these sorts of steps when a site is unduly blocked or de-indexed by Bing, but I would be curious if people are aware of examples other than Techdirt.
I will note that while Mr. Masnick was light on details about the Bing situation, he did take time to offer some questionable political commentary:
Now, of course, if this were a Trumpist nonsense peddler website, I’m sure there would be blaring headlines on Fox News and in the NY Post, and a whole set of hearings chaired by Jim Jordan about “censorship.” And we’d be hearing about it for years. That’s not going to happen with me. I’m sure the reality is much more mundane. I am guessing it’s just a glitch somewhere in the system.
While Mr. Masnick seems to believe that he deserves a medal for not accusing Bing of censorship (if he does, I deserve one too since I took the same position with respect to The New Leaf Journal’s Bing ban despite having published a few articles critical of Bing and Microsoft), the New York Post (not always known for hard-hitting reporting) was actually censored by major social media platforms and other outlets for publishing what turned out to be an entirely accurate report about the son of a candidate for president of the United States (admitted to a point under penalty of perjury by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey). This was one of the incidents that prompted me to support Mr. Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter (now “X,” apparently) despite not liking Twitter as a general matter or thinking that Mr. Musk could make Twitter not terrible. Major government agencies, including the Department of Justice, leaned on social media outlets to censor the story by knowingly falsely implying that the information about said candidate’s son was foreign propaganda (and they received support from major media outlets). One can argue (if he or she so desires) that the New York Post was wrong to publish the report on a presidential candidate’s son or wrong to publish the images it did, but there is no question that the report was throttled and censored. With that being said, I agree with Mr. Masnick that there are many examples of frivolous censorship claims. Some of them even come from his side of the aisle. However, citing to the New York Post (which as a regular reader I dare say is more favorable toward New York City Mayor Eric Adams than former President Trump) discredits the point. If it is Techdirt’s position that the New York Post has no legitimate grievances in this area, than perhaps a brief Bing ban is an example of reaping what one sows.