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Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Tuesday demanded that Microsoft explain why the company blocked images and videos of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests on anniversary of the massacre, CNN reported.

The big picture: A Microsoft spokesperson previously said the removal of the images was a mistake, and blamed it on "accidental human error," per CNN.

What happened: Pictures and videos of "Tank Man," the unidentified protester who who faced tanks during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, were taken down from Bing around the world on Friday, the anniversary of the events.

  • The images reappeared on Saturday.
  • Bing operates in China, meaning Microsoft can be forced by the Chinese government to censor specific search results for users in the country, per CNN.
  • China tends to increase censorship for the Tiananmen Square Massacre weeks ahead of its anniversary.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Ina Fried: Companies that wish to do business in China have to go to great lengths to remove certain content within China, though its influence often (but not always) stops at the border.

What he's saying: "While the People's Republic of China infamously censors internet search terms related to the Tiananmen Square Massacre (including "Tank Man"), the possibility that the Chinese Communist Party's censorship would be extended to the United States by an American company is unacceptable," Romney said.

  • Romney acknowledged Microsoft's explanation for the removal, but added that "the timing of the missing result — the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre — leads to further questions, especially given Microsoft's operations in China."
  • The senator listed a series of questions asking Microsoft to specify how China requested the pictures to be taken down, and whether the "censorship" was intentional.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

NTSB probes crash that killed 10 in Alabama as storm lashes Southeast

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's investigating a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash in Alabama that killed 10 people, including nine children, as storms swept the Southeast.

The big picture: Saturday's crash on Interstate 65, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes," per AP.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."