The BBC reports that in China three employees of Baidu, the biggest search engine of China and by many seen as a possible ‘Google killer’ once they would expand, have been arrested “on suspicion of having accepted bribes to delete posts from its forum service”.
The three, together with a fourth employee, were fired by Baidu when it became clear they had deleted posts in return for money, but now they also were arrested for this. Apparently they accepted thousands of euros in return for the deletion of certain posts.
At this point it is unclear which posts were actually deleted. Against the BBC Baidu’s spokeswoman Betty Tian said:
“Baidu has always firmly cracked down on the illegal behaviour of online posts deletion for payment. Baidu has also proactively reported actions involving illegal behaviour to the public security organs.
We have established that we will not accept any payment in handling online user complaints.
Baidu has continuously provided professional ethics education to staff members who are given authority to delete online posts.”
The story is interesting because Baidu is far from a ‘regular’ run company with a lot of censorship and a lot of ‘control from above’ taking place. You can expect that there are many more posts being deleted, but now employees have taken money for those deletions.