Baidu fires employees for deleting posts for cash

Baidu fires employees for deleting posts for cash

Summary: Three former employees arrested for accepting bribes to delete negative posts on forum, while fourth fired but escaped arrest, in scam which ran into "tens of thousands of yuan".

TOPICS: Censorship, Legal, China

Three employees from Chinese Internet giant Baidu have been arrested for being paid by external partners to delete online messages on its online forum, while another employee was fired for apparently only attempting to do so.

A similar case had happened previously but the police are involved this time due to the large amount of money involved, Li Guoxun, a public relations officer at Baidu told Chinese news site Global Times on Sunday. The money offered had run into "tens of thousands of yuan" (10,000 yuan = US$1,570), another source from the Chinese search engine, who declined to be named, told the news site.

"Baidu has fired the four. 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," Li said in the report.

This comes amid a rise in the number of agencies offering "professional post-deleting" services--which promise to delete online posts on forums,  blogs and news portals with negative messages of their clients have surfaced in China, under

Other than these agencies, the Chinese government have also recently made efforts to clamp down on online comments and rumors. Earlier in April, a dozen Web sites were shut down and six people were detained for circulating news of disgraced Communist Party figure, Bo Xilai. The country's popular microblog operators--Tencent and Sina Weibo--subsequently suspended site services for four days to clean up any "illegal and harmful" information.

Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, had also admitted that he was "most concerned" by the Internet censorship efforts of China and it was a threat to online freedom.

Topics: Censorship, Legal, China

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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  • What a strange, twisted world the Chinese are . . .

    What a strange, twisted world the Chinese are . . .

    For one thing, it seems that forums and blogs are poorly implemented, if they allow anybody to walk in and start deleting posts. In most software I've seen, that's reserved for moderators and administrators.

    For another, there's the "do as we say, not as we do" attitude of the Chinese gov't, which apparently IS allowed to walk in shut you down if they don't like you.
    • Maybe they are forum admins

      Maybe those four that got fired are admins for their sites. After all, if anybody could just delete posts, then bribes don't be necessary.