Microsoft won’t flag fake news over possible censorship accusations

Microsoft will not mark fake news as such in Bing search results and on LinkedIn posts. The company is afraid that users will see this as censorship and also thinks that labeling makes little sense.

CEO Brad Smith tells Bloomberg that Microsoft sees little value in labeling disinformation. “I don’t think people want to hear from governments what’s true and what isn’t. And I think they don’t like to hear that from tech companies either.” Microsoft previously reduced the visibility of Russian state channels RT and Sputnik after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Microsoft’s position differs from that of other tech giants. Meta and Twitter, among others, label misinformation in posts as such and also reduce the visibility of such posts and links. This happened, among other things, in response to the 2020 presidential elections in the US and the disinformation in the first period of the corona pandemic.

Microsoft does look for influencing campaigns from certain countries on a daily basis. CEO Tom Burt tells Bloomberg that the goal is not to steal information. “Our whole approach should be to provide people with more information, not less. We can’t trip over what others might see as censorship as a tactic.”

Microsoft does not have a major social medium known for large amounts of disinformation. Bing has a relatively limited market share as a search engine, while LinkedIn as a business social network has rarely if ever made the news in recent years due to large-scale campaigns around disinformation.