What’s new in china? Baidu implicated in a student’s death
Baidu, the only “reliable” search engine in China
Baidu is the main search engine in China as Google is blocked by the Communist government.
It is really important in China, even more important than Google for the rest of the world because it controls more than 80% of China’s search market.
Thus, it holds the flow of information for China’s 700 million internet users who are confined to Baidu results and do not have any other source of information to rely on.
Baidu implicated in a student’s death
But the successful company is now facing a crisis as its shares dropped by 10% this week.
An investigation was launched against the search engine which would have a role in a student’s death.
Wei Zexi, a 21-year-old college student from northwestern Shaanxi province died after an untested treatment advised by the Beijing hospital featured in Baidu’s search results.
The fact is that when searching on Baidu how to care himself Wei found an advertisement of the Beijing hospital. He took an appointment and the doctor he met guarantied him that he will be able to live 20 years more because of the effective treatment delivered. Actually this therapy was in clinical tests in the US and had no record of effectiveness at all. But Wei found it out too late and had no money anymore to solve this hospital’s mistake.
Chinese citizens have expressed disgust against Baidu
Thousands of Chinese citizens are really disappointed against their main search engine which is associated to “the greatest evil of human nature”
Baidu is accused of letting fake advertisements on its search engine to have more revenues for itself. Profits are ahead of people and that is a real problem for the company image which is seen to have no social responsibility neither corporate value in this case. Actually, Baidu draws all its revenues from ads, and an estimated 30% of that comes from medical advertising. But you cannot make money on human health and safety if you are not sure about the information diffused. It is a lack of ethic and responsibility.
Is it really Baidu’s fault?
Baidu is not the only institution to blame of course, there is also the Beijing hospital which badly advised Wei and his family about the untested medicine.
Would Google have done it better?
If you do some searches on Google, you could find the latest development in cancer’s research results around the world. You could also find that the treatment is not ready for clinics yet. Then, there are some ads as well but at the bottom and not in the first line like on Baidu.
Google has strict ad policies to avoid illicit groups to communicate on its search engine.
It is not the case of Baidu because lot of suspicious-looking medical ads remain on Baidu even after the investigation.
However, it should be the contrary and the search engine should have higher standards than Google, because it is all Chinese have.
Baidu has to improve its policies restrictions to regain the population’s trust
Baidu is saying to its citizens that it won’t leave any opportunity for false online information anymore. It has to carry out the supervisory responsibility of the population now.
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