Baidu's Baijiahao platform. Photo: VCG
Users looking for news articles on China’s biggest search engine can now choose to block Baidu’s own news aggregation service from their search results, after critics blasted the company for prioritizing its own content.
Previously, Baidu’s news search automatically showed both content from Baidu’s Baijiahao platform and links to original media reports. But Baijiahao articles — which featured content republished from other sites — often appeared at the top of search results, receiving the most traffic and making it hard for users to find the original news reports.
In January, prominent former journalist Fang Kecheng posted an “obituary” mourning Baidu’s usefulness as a search engine. Fang said Baidu favored less-relevant results from Baijiahao for many search terms, and was more interested in earning money from searches than in providing informative content.
Baidu later responded that Baijiahao articles account for less than 10% of its total search results, but promised to improve the service.
The change to Baidu’s news search options is part of a broader adjustment of its search engine. Last week, Baidu said it removed 1.1 billion advertisements and 3.4 billion posts containing “harmful” information.
Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (firstname.lastname@example.org)