Bing’s better

Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing, got off to a rocky start where porn filtering was concerned. It got rave reviews except for the way it allowed people to bypass its SafeSearch filter even after set to “strict filtering,” which my ConnectSafely co-director Larry Magid wrote about at CNET. Microsoft quickly made two changes that pretty much solve the problem if parents have filtering software installed on the computers their kids use (or use Microsoft’s or Apple’s operating-system-level parental controls). Now you can just put the URL “explicit.bing.net” into the filter’s list of sites to block, and the filter will block all sexually explicit images Bing searches might turn up. Sites already excluded from the filter, such as Playboy.com, will also not display in Bing.com, Larry explains. What won’t work is what I suggested in my original post about Bing: simply turning on strict filtering and – if kids are compliant with a rule about not changing the strict setting – having peace of mind that nothing untoward will turn up without filtering software, as is true with other search engines. But to Microsoft’s credit, it acted very quickly in response to concerns.

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