China tightens up control of Internet search ads

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By Larry Banks

Chinese Internet regulator said on the weekend that search engines should more tightly manage paid-for adverts in search results, so that it’s clearer which results are paid-for and also limiting their numbers.

The Chinese government already has wide controls over the Internet – last month regulators imposed limits on the number of healthcare ads shown by search giant Baidu, after the death of a student who had an experimental cancer treatment he found using the country’s biggest search engine. Wei Zexi, aged 21, died in April from a rare type of cancer, sparking widespread public anger.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said search engines should investigate the aptitude of clients that show paid-for ads, with an upper limit on the ads, besides more clearly distinguishing which come from natural searches and which are paid-for ads.

“Internet search providers should earnestly accept corporate responsibility toward society, and strengthen their own management in accordance with the law and rules, to provide objective, fair and authoritative search results to users”, it said.

Baidu said in a statement that it was committed to providing the best search experience and will fully comply with the law.

“Baidu will work closely with government agencies, internet users and the community to uphold a healthy internet environment, and strive to provide objective, impartial, and authoritative search results to our users”.

SOURCE: Reuters.

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