How Bing delivers search results

How Bing delivers search results

Why we remove results or links to websites or content that contains child abuse, spam, protected content, defamatory content, private content, or in some countries or regions, adult content.

As an online search engine, the primary objective of Bing is to connect users with the most relevant search results from the web—providing easy access to quality content produced by web publishers. To do this, Bing automatically crawls the web to build an index of new and updated pages (or URLs) to display as a set of search results relevant to a user-initiated search or action. The content of these pages may reference or contain various online resources and content including websites, images, videos, documents, and other items. Search results are generated by using computer algorithms to match the search terms you enter with results in our index. In general, we try to provide as comprehensive and as useful a collection of displayed search results as we can. We design—and continually improve—our algorithms to provide the most relevant and useful results.

As an algorithmically-driven service, Bing doesn't control the operation or design of the indexed websites, and has no control over what indexed websites publish. As long as the website continues to make the information available on the web and to crawlers, the information will be generally available through Bing or other search engines.

Note

If information has already been removed from the website but is still showing up in Bing search results, you can use the Content Removal Tool to submit a page removal or outdated cache removal request. To learn more about the Content Removal Tool, go to Bing Webmaster Help & How-To.

Microsoft respects freedom of expression. If Microsoft receives requests to remove content from individuals, businesses, and governments, in limited cases, where quality, safety, user demand, relevant laws, and/or public policy concerns exist, Bing might remove results, inform users of certain risks, or provide users with options for tailoring their content. Bing limits removal of search results to a narrow set of circumstances and conditions to avoid restricting Bing users’ access to relevant information.

Below we describe ways that Bing does this and when. When search results are removed, Bing endeavors to be transparent about removal. This includes providing users with notice of removal of search results at the bottom of the page. In addition, information about search results removal by Bing will be published as a part of a broader Microsoft transparency report starting in fall 2015.

Legal requests from governments, individuals, or otherwise

Certain countries maintain laws or regulations that apply to search service providers and require removal of access to certain indexed pages. Some of these laws allow specific individuals or entities to demand removal of results (such as for copyright infringement, libel, defamation, personally identifiable information, hate speech, or other personal rights), while others are administered and enforced by the government.

When Microsoft receives a request or demand, Bing balances its support for freedom of expression and for free access to relevant content with compliance with local law. We review and assess the request or demand, including the reason and basis for the request or demand, the authority or rights of the requesting party, our applicable policies and our commitments to our users with regard to freedom of expression, and determine whether and to what extent we should remove access to the content.

Examples of legal request areas with global approaches

Child sexual abuse materials

The production and distribution of, and access to, child sexual abuse materials is universally condemned and generally illegal. Sadly, the abuse of children is not new, but the web affords new opportunities to those who would commit crimes against children. Bing works with others in technology and industry groups, law enforcement, and governmental and non-governmental organizations to help stop the spread of this horrific content online. One way we do this is by removing pages that have been reviewed by credible agencies (or identified via Microsoft PhotoDNA) and found to contain or relate to the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.

In particular, we remove pages from our index that have been identified by the Internet Watch Foundation (UK), NCMEC (US), and FSM (Germany) as, in their good faith judgment, hosting or providers of access to child sexual abuse material. Removing these links from displayed search results doesn’t block the materials from being accessed on the web or discovered through means other than Bing, but it does reduce the ability of those who would seek it out or profit from it.

Copyright infringement

Bing encourages respect for intellectual property, including copyrights, while also recognizing the rights of users to engage in uses that may be permissible under applicable copyright laws. Bing may remove from its search results links to webpages containing material infringing the rights of the owner of copyrighted content, provided we receive a legally sufficient notice of copyright infringement from the copyright owner or its authorized agent.

If you are a rights holder and have an intellectual property concern about a website’s content that is linked to by Bing, or a Bing ad, please see our Report Infringement page.

Quality, safety, and user demand

In certain circumstances relating to quality, safety, and what our users want, Bing may decide to remove certain results, or we may warn or educate users or provide options for tailoring results.

Examples of quality, safety, and user demand

Spam

Some pages captured in the Bing index turn out to be pages of little or no value to users and may also have characteristics that artificially manipulate the way search and advertising systems work in order to distort their relevance relative to pages that offer more relevant information. Some of these pages include only advertisements and/or links to other websites that contain mostly ads, and no, or only superficial, content relevant to the subject of the search. To improve the search experience for users and deliver more relevant content, Bing might remove such search results, or adjust Bing algorithms to prioritize more useful and relevant pages in search results.

Sensitive personal information, including nonconsensual distribution of intimate images

From time to time, webpages that are publicly available will intentionally or inadvertently contain sensitive personal information posted without the consent of the individual identified or in circumstances that create security or privacy risks. Examples include inadvertent posting of private records, private phone numbers, identification numbers and the like, or intentionally and maliciously posting email passwords, login credentials, credit card numbers, or other data intended to be used for fraud or hacking. Upon verification, Bing will remove such search results.

Another example is when someone shares adult images of another person online without that person’s consent. Culturally, this is a gross invasion of one’s privacy and is commonly referred to as "revenge porn." To help victims get back control of their images and their privacy, upon review, Bing may remove links to revenge porn photos and videos from search results. To report unauthorized online photos and videos, victims should complete a form on our reporting web page.

As noted in the form, information will remain available on the web even if Bing has removed a relevant search result. The website owner is in the best position to address privacy concerns about the information it publishes and the form directs victims to contact these website owners in order to remove content from the web.

Adult content

Bing offers SafeSearch settings, which allow most users to set the type of filtering of adult content that they would like applied to their search results. Bing wants to avoid delivering content that can be offensive or harmful when it wasn’t requested. By default, in most countries or regions, SafeSearch is set to Moderate, which restricts visually explicit search results but doesn't restrict explicit text.

Note

Different countries or regions may have different local customs, religious or cultural norms, or local laws regarding the display of adult content (or search results accessing adult content). This may affect default SafeSearch settings for Bing in some countries. We endeavor to reevaluate these settings as the relevant local laws, customs, and norms evolve.

Warnings (illegal sale of pharmaceuticals, malware)

When there is a significant risk of serious harm to the public from purchasing unsafe, counterfeit, and other illegal drugs online (illegal pharmaceuticals) or accessing sites that are reasonably suspected of containing malware, Bing wants to help our users make informed decisions. With this goal in mind, we provide a set of warnings on Bing.com to give our users more information about the dangers of visiting unsafe sites. We will not prevent a user from visiting the sites. However, the warning will caution users of the risks, and provide links to resources where the user can learn more about selecting a safe online pharmacy.

For illegal pharmaceuticals, this warning will appear if a Bing user selects a pharmaceutical site that has been cited by the FDA as a fake online pharmacy engaged in illegal activity, such as offering potentially dangerous, unapproved and misbranded prescription drugs to US users.

Related Topics

Remove cached pages from Bing
Submit a request to remove content from Bing
Report adult or offensive content
Block adult content with SafeSearch

See more videos...