Bing removed 143 million “pirate” site URLs last year *TorrentFreak

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In response to DMCA takedown requests, Bing removed more than 143 million links from its search engine in 2021. This represents a slight increase from the previous year. Interestingly, these hack-related removals in Bing also impact other search engine results.

Bing has a relatively small market share, but that doesn’t mean it’s ignored by copyright holders.

Microsoft’s search engine processes an average of millions of withdrawal requests per week and those numbers add up quickly.

142 855 667 URL

The last of Bing transparency report was released last week, giving us a closer look at the latest trends. Data shows that in 2021, Bing was asked to remove over 144 million URLs.

Over 99% of these requests were valid and accepted, ultimately resulting in 142,855,667 URLs being removed. This is a slight increase from the 125 million URLs removed a year earlier.

Looking more closely at the data, we can see that there was a sharp drop in requests for removal in the second half of the year. The number of reported URLs increased from 103 million in the first six months to 41 million in the following months.

Main senders and targets

The decline in withdrawal volume can largely be explained by a single withdrawal sender. Specifically, this is due to the lack of requests for “Remove Your Media” towards the end of the year.

Remove Your Media works with various “Manga” copyright holders and sent Bing more than 50 million takedown requests in the first half of 2021. In the second half, that number dropped to 46,000.

With more than a third of all URLs flagged, the company was still the top sender in 2021, followed by UK music group BPI and Marketly with 31 million and 11 million URLs flagged respectively.

When we look at the most reported domains, manga-related sites are also on top. Mangapark.net was targeted over 2.5 million times, followed by related domains such as Mangafox and Ninemanga.

Overflow

As we learned recently, these removals also seem to affect other search engines that rely on Bing’s data. These include DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, Qwant and Ecosia.

To give an example, one of our Game of Thrones leaked news articles was removed from Bing’s search results due to erroneous takedown requests. As a result, this article could not be found in other search engines either.

After covering this error, the article reappeared in Bing. Unsurprisingly, it also reappeared in Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines. However, other deleted news articles that we have not mentioned, including this article on several movie leaks, are still missing at the time of writing.

This spillover effect of removal saves copyright owners a lot of time and effort. However, for those targeted by takedown errors, it only adds insult to injury.

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