China internet watchdog orders Baidu to fix forums

China's internet regulator has summoned executives at Baidu to discuss illegal content in search results and in online forums.
China's internet regulator has summoned executives at Baidu to discuss illegal content in search results and in online forums.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's internet regulator has summoned executives at Baidu, the operator of China's dominant search engine, to discuss illegal content in search results and in online forums, the Cyberspace Administration of China said on Saturday (Jan 16).

The content included pornographic and violent material and advertisements for unlicensed hospitals, the administration said in a statement. It ordered the company to increase monitoring.

Baidu released a statement on Saturday apologising for failures in the management of the platform and said the firm had started to take measures to solve problems.

The company's online forum, Tieba, has been embroiled in a controversy regarding a health-related forum where patients were advised to purchase a certain drug. Reports later claimed that the forum was owned by the maker or the drug.

Baidu said last week it would cease monetising all of its illness related forums on Tieba, a promise which was repeated in a post on the company's official weibo, China's Twitter-like blogging service.