What happened: China’s biggest search engine Baidu updated its news search services on Monday, offering users more options in selecting sources for content they want to browse. The change allows users to choose either from all media outlets or from Baidu’s Baijiahao. Launched in September 2016, Baijiahao is a news aggregation platform which publishes content from other sites.
Why it’s important: Baidu’s adjustment is widely translated as a response to a January censure involving former journalist Fang Kechen, who accused Baidu of promoting its own results and low-quality articles on Baijiahao over news from other channels. “Baidu no longer plans on being a good search engine. It only wants to be a marketing platform,” Fang wrote in an article. Baidu responded that Baijiahao articles account for less than 10% of its total search results, but promised to improve the service. The Chinese search giant has been facing mounting credibility problems in recent years, especially after a scandal involving a 21-year-old cancer patient who died after unsuccessful treatments at a hospital which had been ranked at the top of Baidu’s search results.