Chinese search engine Qihoo 360 published an open letter on Tuesday, announcing that it will stop promoting consumer-directed medical information. The letter comes just after Baidu was implicated in a search engine scandal which led to the death of a university student.
Baidu’s promotion of false medical information has been fingered as a major cause of the student’s death. Qihoo 360 claimed that it will give up all commercial promotion of medical information before the legal system has been further developed. The letter says for the sake of people’s lives and health, 360’s search engine has decided to abandon its commercial interests for the time being.
While Baidu was hit by a stock price plummet of 10.28% in the past two days with USD seven billion in valuation lost, according to Sohu Finance, this move from Qihoo 360 is only adding to Baidu’s trouble. Will it lead to other search engines like Sogou taking action? Will Baidu quit promoting medical ads altogether?
Another question is whether Qihoo 360’s decision was justifiable. Maybe not. An online poll with over 16,000 participants carried out by Tencent Tech revealed that people with lower income prefer medical ads to be closely inspected and not removed. One netizen commented, “the problem is, why should good medical resources be kept from the public along with the false ones?”
(Top photo from 16sucai.com)