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China’s search engine Baidu is under investigation for promoting illegal gambling websites

China’s search engine Baidu is under investigation for promoting illegal gambling websites

China's search engine Baidu is under investigation for promoting illegal gambling websites

Domestic media reported gambling websites used China’s largest search engine Baidu to promote themselves.

Online gambling is officially outlawed in mainland China since 1949. However, online betting operators found the platform on China’s top search engine during the nighttime.

Domestic media reported gambling websites used China’s largest search engine Baidu to promote themselves.

Online gambling is officially outlawed in mainland China since 1949. However, online betting operators found the platform on China’s top search engine during the nighttime.

The Beijing News reported last week that gambling websites had created accounts with Baidu using the names of legitimate companies that were not registered with the search engine giant. The ads that appeared in the search results had the symbol ‘V’ that indicates a verified corporate account. Users who clicked on such ad links were directed to illegal gambling sites. However, by 9 AM the ads were either removed entirely or directed users to the actual websites that belonged to the companies used for the ad.

The corporate accounts were opened via third party marketing services and there was little verification of the clients’ identity performed. There even were claims expressed by advertising agents that most of such business was conducted via popular messaging app QQ.

In the statement posted on Monday, the Cyberspace Administration of China expressed ‘great concern’ and announced they will conduct a strict investigation of the accident.

Baidu responded to the report by confirming that the offending companies were reported to the police and denied having any cooperation with gambling operators. To further dispel any suspicions, Baidu provided statistics showing that it blocked more that 8,000 illegal gambling sites as well as prevented more than 7,000 gambling keywords from appearing in its search results during the first quarter of this year.

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