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Notepad++ removes Bing search command following alleged Tiananmen Square censorship

June 4 is the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, most commonly associated with the iconic "Tank Man" photo. This year, Microsoft found itself in hot water when it was reported that the company is allegedly censoring Bing search results on the particular day and that the query "Tank Man" conveniently returns no image results.

The company faced a lot of backlash for apparent censorship, prompting it to release a statement claiming it to be "human error". Although the issue has now been fixed, it appears that some are not satisfied with the Redmond tech giant's justification, including the maintainers behind the massively popular text editor Notepad++.

Some recent commits to Notepad++ indicate that Bing has been removed from the "Search on Internet" command in the latest version of the software. The commit message states that:

When a search engine (sic) does the censorship instead of its job, the search result loses its quality and it's not reliable anymore. Hence, Microsoft Bing is removed from Notepad++ for "Search on Internet" command.

Search on Internet refers to a feature in Notepad++ through which a user can highlight text, right click and choose the option to directly fire a search query about the highlighted text on the internet. Depending on what your default search engine is, the query text may be forwarded to Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo, among others.

However, recent commits have removed Bing as an option altogether and any user with Bing as their default search engine will be directed to DuckDuckGo search results instead. Relevant lines of codes have been attached below which indicate this behavior:

else if (nppGui._searchEngineChoice == nppGui.se_duckDuckGo || nppGui._searchEngineChoice == nppGui.se_bing)


url = TEXT("https://duckduckgo.com/?q=$(CURRENT_WORD)");


Meanwhile, the code block which handles Bing queries has been removed altogether. As of now, it is currently unclear whether this change is permanent or if the previous behavior will be reverted after some time. Some users of the software have cited concerns with the move, with one saying that "I don't think this is a good idea. It's an open-source community project removing a feature due to choices made by others completely unrelated to the project. It's introducing politics into something that really shouldn't have anything to do with politics."

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