In a country where the censorship rates are pretty high and where journalists have been imprisoned for writing articles that speak out against the government, it seems ironic that China’s largest search engine, Baidu, has recently fired four members of their staff for reportedly deleting user content in exchange for cash. As we’re sure that some of you guys are aware by now, there are blogs out there that do reviews for gadgets (like us), food, travel destinations, services and etc. Some of these reviews are sponsored which means that the content is usually biased, while some reviews are done simply because the blog wanted to give a fair and unbiased opinion. Unfortunately this can result in bad reviews for certain restaurants or businesses who might have provided unfavorable services or products.
Dubbed “professional post-deleting”, this basically deletes blog posts and user content that might have been construed as negative by the company that was written about. Thanks to cross-referencing, Baidu has managed to uncover the employees who did the deletions and has fired them. So how much does this “professional post-deleting” service cost? According to The Global Times, a forum post can be deleted for $150, $450 for a news story and fees can go as high as $30,000 a year for a “maintenance service” whereby negative posts are deleted immediately upon sighting.