One of the scary things about the Internet for schools and for parents is that explicit content is very easy to find – even by accident. Most web browsers have “safe search” settings but young people are savvy and it is not unheard of for them to change their settings. Content that comes indirectly, such as via a search engine, can occasionally sneak by filters which increases the problem. The new
search engine decision engine from Microsoft called Bing has taken steps to help with this problem.
First, potentially explicit images and video content will now be coming from a separate single domain, explicit.bing.net. This is invisible to the end customer, but allows for filtering of that content by domain which makes it much easier for customers at all levels to block this content regardless of what the SafeSearch settings might be. This makes it much easier for filtering software to block unwanted content if SafeSearch has been turned off.
In addition, we will begin returning source url information in the query string for images and video content so that companies who already use this method of filtering will be able to catch explicit content on Bing along with everything else they are already blocking for their customers. An example of such a query string is:
So if your school (or home or company) filters out explicit.bing.net then no matter what setting the web browser has you will not see explicit content in Bing results. This should be a big help to a lot of schools. It was done in direct response to feedback from companies, schools, and others concerned with making sure explicit content can be filtered out when that action is appropriate.