Microsoft President Brad Smith called on the Trump administration to support a set of so-called digital democracy principles “outlining acceptable behavior in cyberspace that’s been signed by more than 60 governments and more than 100 other organizations,” despite the company complying with strict Chinese censorship rules, and recently partnering with NewsGuard to create a news blacklist for its Edge mobile browser.
The Washington Post reported on Friday that Smith thinks the “United States’ refusal to endorse the principles — which include condemning election hacking and large-scale, indiscriminate cyberattacks — gives freer rein to more authoritarian governments to define how nations ought to act in cyberspace.”
“Democracy can only be defended effectively when the world’s democracies act in a united way,” Smith declared at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year. “If the world’s democracies don’t come together, we risk being pulled apart in ways that fundamentally threaten the values that we all share.”
Despite calling for the United States to back the principles in an effort to curb authoritarian governments, Microsoft currently complies with strict Chinese censorship laws in order to operate in the communist country.
On Friday, Microsoft’s search engine Bing was restored in China after it was temporarily knocked offline.
“The brief hiatus in service was due to an accidental technical error, not censorship, Bloomberg News cited two anonymous sources as saying. Earlier, the Financial Times cited two anonymous sources as saying the block had been government-directed,” reported Variety, adding, that “China operates one of the world’s most restrictive censorship regimes, and Bing is only allowed to operate in the country because it agrees to delete content deemed offensive or threatening to the ruling Communist Party.”
Microsoft has also started to use the NewsGuard media blacklist in its Edge mobile browser, which blacklists news outlets it considers to be “fake news.”
NewsGuard currently blacklists a number of popular conservative outlets including Breitbart News, the Drudge Report, and the Daily Mail, as well as WikiLeaks, despite the fact that WikiLeaks has never had to retract a story for being misleading, unlike many of the liberal outlets given the green light by NewsGuard.