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China’s internet regulator calls on Baidu to rectify content on its app 

Regulators accused Baidu of spreading inappropriate content and lacking strict content management.

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Chinese search engine giant Baidu has suspended some channels on its mobile app on Wednesday as ordered by Chinese regulators, local media 36kr reported.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said in an announcement on Wednesday that it has called on Baidu to carry out rectification on its app, which it said was spreading “vulgar content” and publishing articles with “exaggerated titles”, as well as lacking strict content management and reviewing systems.

The announcement stated that some of these channels, which can be found below Baidu’s app search bar, exerted a “bad influence on society”. Channels including recommendations, images, video, finance, and technology have been suspended since 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

The recommendations channel, along with several other channels on the Baidu app, has been suspended since April 8. Source: screenshots of Baidu app

Baidu indicating that it will follow authorities’ instructions and make improvements in website management to “provide better service to users,” according to an announcement posted on its app. However, both the regulator and the company did not disclose when normal operations will resume.

This is not the first time authorities have ordered Baidu to rectify. On January 3, 2019, Chinese regulators ordered a one-week hiatus on the search engine’s news and content feeds for spreading inappropriate content.

Other newsfeed apps have also been involved in similar cases. ByteDance’s news aggregator app Jinri Toutiao, along with Phoenix News, NetEase News, and Tencent-backed Tiantian Kuaibao, were taken offline from local app stores in April 2018, as Beijing regulators moved to increase online content regulations. All of these apps were later reinstated after a period of three days to three weeks.

Baidu’s mobile app has always been a key contributor to the internet giant’s business. Daily active users on the Baidu app hit 195 million in December 2019, up 21% from the previous year, while in-app search queries increased almost 30% year-on-year, according to the company’s latest financial report.

36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.