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June 1 2009

Shock Of Shocks, If You Search For Porn, You See Porn

bing logoWere you aware that if you go to a search engine and search on the term “porn”, you will see… wait for it… porn? I know, I’m just as shocked as you are.

Apparently some people in the social media scene are unaware of how search engines work.  You enter a term for something that interests you, you click a button, said search engine returns those results to you.  Seems like a fairly simple concept doesn’t it?  Well, apparently this was news to MG Siegler of TechCrunch and Loic Le Meur.

These two brain trusts decided to see what would happen when they went on Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing, and searched for “porn”.  Both Siegler and Le Meur were shocked at how easy it was to view porn, but at least Siegler threw in a disclaimer:

Now, to be fair, to see these results, you do have to manually override the adult filter on the video search, but that’s a whole 2 clicks and doesn’t require that you actually verify your age or anything.

Well, I hate to school a fellow blogger, but, has he actually gone to any other search engine and tried this?  Don’t worry, I saved everyone the work.

porn search

Well, would you look at that.  Not only does Bing have a filter you can easily disable without age verification, but so does Ask.com, Google.com and Yahoo.com.  Imagine that.

Now, on Yahoo I realized I was signed into my account, so I signed out just in case age was associated with my account, and I was still able to turn it off with no fuss.  I did the same test on Google and got the same results.  I don’t think I’ve ever had an account with Ask, so I didn’t even bother to look.

Look, I’m no huge fan of Microsoft, and I think the name Bing is so atrociously obvious as an attempt to make a verb out of themselves as to be insulting (i.e. instead of saying “I’ll Google that”, they want you to say “I’ll Bing that”… not happening).  However, to try to insinuate that they are somehow falling down in protecting people from porn when they implemented the exact same method as every other search engine is just low.  The only thing Microsoft did differently is that the videos auto-play when you hover your mouse over them instead of you having to actually click on them.  Wow… that’s… really a non-starter.

Since this “news” came out over the weekend, Bing has added an “Agree” button stating that you are over 18-years-old, and apparently some people are calling victory because you now have to click another button.  Wow, that’ll stop those pesky kids!  They’ll never think to lie and click the “Agree” button.  I mean, heck, that’s a whole extra click to get to the porn!  No one will do that!

Personally I think this is just another example of, ‘well, Microsoft made it, so it must be evil’ thinking that is so prevalent in the tech blogosphere, and quite frankly I find that sad.  As I said, I’m no huge fan of Microsoft, but to attack them for something that is really no different than any other search engine?  Well, I think that says more about the authors of the commentaries than it says about Bing.



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