06 Aug 2012
Three employees of Baidu, the largest Chinese search engine, have been arrested after allegedly cashing bribes for deleting online posts, according to media reports. Another employee was only attempting paid censorship, and doesn’t face prison.
“Baidu has fired the four,” the company’s PR officer Li Guoxun said, as quoted by the Global Times. “If we discover such cases, we will severely punish staff. Baidu will close the loopholes by strengthening management to maintain order in our communication platform.”
The company dealt with a similar case before, but police intervened because tens of thousands of yuan (10,000 yuan = US$1,570) circulated in the censorship scam.
Police also arrested another man who didn’t work for Baidu. The arrests follow a rise in “professional post-deleting” on Chinese agencies, which promise to delete negative posts and articles on blogs, forums and news portals.
Prices vary from 1,000 yuan for deleting a single forum post, to 2,000 yuan to remove a blog post, and 3,000 yuan to delete an article from a news portal. Companies can also make an annual subscription for more than 150,000 yuan.