Search engine Bing is playing politics with its latest feature, a filter that can tweak search results to fit your own political bias.
Bing’s new State of the Union reaction page allows users who tune in to President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight to only view coverage that matches their political leanings. At the top of the page, a slider offering “LEFT” and “RIGHT” political viewpoints can be toggled.
Choosing the “LEFT” option offers users links to typically left-leaning media sources such as Daily Kos,Mother Jones, and The Nation. Opting for right-leaning news throws up pages from conservative sites such as Townhall, HotAir, and WorldNetDaily.
There’s also an option for those who prefer their news without a political slant. At the time of writing, the centrist option offered news from the likes of The Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, and BBC News.
The filter is part of a new Bing campaign led by Mark Penn. Penn, who oversaw Hillary Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential run, has been hired by Microsoft to help Bing battle search engine rival Google.
In a move that is proving controversial (judging by many user comments), Microsoft has joined forces with right-leaning cable news network Fox News to assist with the filter.
What do you think of Bing’s filter function for political news? It’s undoubtedly comforting to only read news that reaffirms one’s own political viewpoints (a look at my own bookmarks supports this), but do such filters risk damaging bipartisan debate, simplifying complex issues into a left-wing/right-wing mud-slinging match? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!