Google News Filtering



Bill Xia has released a report indicating that Google News (China) returns different results for users within China than it does for users outside of China. More specifically, Google News (China) does not return results for particular news sites (epochtimes.com.au & chinesenewsnet.com) that are blocked in China. I have confirmed this behaviour by testing from computers located in China. However, it is unclear exactly how this filtering is being implemented. Google does have technology in place to, for example, redirect users to localized Google search engines. It is probable that similar techniques are used to establish the geographic location of users by their IP address and, if the user is in China, output the modified results accordingly. However, this indicates that Google is aware of particular news sites that are filtered in China.

To be clear, this filtering is quite separate from China’s keyword filtering technology that disrupts connections that contain specific keywords regardless of what server the content is requested from. Such keyword filtering is used, for example, to block access to the Google Cache. The filtering that Bill has discovered is not as a result of China’s filtering technology, rather news items from sites that are blocked in China appear to be deliberately de-listed from Google News (China) results for users located in China.

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