Microsoft has shut down the “Trending” feature for their search engine, Bing, according to a report from Ars Technica, after the results of the feature were showing inappropriate results.
As it says in the report, the issue came with the stock photo website, Shutterstock, where the “trending results” section would show Shutterstock content with borderline titles. These titles were things like “Boys Erection” or “Big Tits”. However, none of this content was actually inappropriate; all videos were of non-sexual, completely safe things.
“Having reviewed the video clips, Shutterstock can confirm that the content is available on the platform and is in compliance with our content policy,” Shutterstock explained in their email to Ars Technica, “However, the titles of the videos on what appears to be a ‘Trending Articles’ feature on Bing do not match the titles of the videos available on Shutterstock.”
Shutterstock had asked Microsoft to remove its content from the feature, and Microsoft has shut the whole thing down.
“We’ve disabled the preview feature responsible for these results while we examine how they occurred and how we can prevent them in the future.”
Microsoft has been unable to explain what happened with this feature, but the Ars Technica report suggested that the company was the victim of a prank, saying: “It can’t be a coincidence that four innocuous videos with suggestive titles all became trending topics at the same time. It could have been the work of a hacker or a disgruntled Shutterstock employee, or perhaps pranksters in the shadier corners of the Internet figured out how to drive traffic to those videos in a way that caused them to show up as trending articles on Bing.”
This is certainly embarrassing for the company, but it is still better than the recent child pornography issue the site used to have until last year, where it was found that Bing search results could suggest child pornography and other terrible things. Bing has always been somewhat of a meme, as it is a competitor to Google, who is dominating that market. Bing is sure to face some scrutiny and skepticism in the future for these problems.
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