Briefing: Baidu vows to improve search services following complaint

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China’s Baidu pledges to improve search service after complaint – Reuters

What happened: An article went viral on Chinese social media suggesting that more than half of the results from Baidu’s search engine direct users to low-quality content from its content aggregator Baijiahao and other Baidu-owned properties. Baidu responded on Wednesday saying that Baijiahao articles account for roughly 10 percent of its search results. It said it would continue improving its media aggregating service to spread high-quality content. Baidu added that Baijiahao was designed to optimize retrieval speeds for mobile users.

Why it’s important: The complaint comes after Baidu underwent a cleanup of illegal medical advertising that emerged in 2016 and resulted in strict regulation that slashed its number of eligible advertisers. Baidu has been the subject of a lot of negative media exposure over the years, while competition in the market has increased. Its shares dropped by 6.4% on Tuesday, or about $4 billion, while concern over the company’s advertising practices spread.