Baidu, the leading search engine in China is following Alibaba and Tencent’s suit in censoring and banning forum discussions on cryptocurrency-related topics. With this, it is attempting to toe the official Chinese line which is not exactly pro-crypto and trying to distance itself from all parts of the crypto business.
On Sunday, this was reported by media outlet China Times that Baidu will now no longer be allowing crypto discussions on Baidu Tieba which is their very own online community business much like Reddit. A source close to the firm, who refused to be named on record said that the company is taking a hard-line stance towards virtual currency and will subject it to close and rigorous scrutiny. It will now be following the appropriate rules and regulations that exist with regard to this space and disallow crypto-oriented discussions.
A spokesperson of Baidu Tieba, the subsidiary to Baidu, commented that the firm will now carry on with its forum business based on the existing laws, rules and regulations in China. However, the spokesperson did not make a comment specifically about crypto. Right now, the various forums and sub-forums discussing cryptocurrencies are appearing as “unavailable”. A search using the relevant keywords leads to a message which says “This forum is temporarily closed due to relevant laws, regulations, and policies.” The representative of Baidu Tieba, while making a comment, indicated that the ban might have been implemented since some of these sub-forums were allegedly involved in the distribution of info on ICOs (initial coin offerings) and speculation on cryptocurrencies.
Last week Tencent’s WeChat messaging platform had also reportedly suspended and removed several crypto-related media because they were allegedly spreading information about crypto. The representative of Baidu Tieba thus added that they had gone along with the closure because of “The same (reason) …why WeChat did it”. Baidu Tieba has been running since 2013 and ever since its launch, it’s been the largest online forum for Chinese netizens to discuss various issues on. Currently, as per the firm’s claims, around 300 million users actively use the platform every month.
The Baidu move came in the wake of five high-level Chinese regulators jointly announcing that they would strictly monitor any attempts by ICOs abroad to seek investments from Chinese citizens over online platforms. However, many sub-forums discussing similar issues and keywords such as “bitcoin”,”bitcoin mining” and “ethereum” continue to remain a part of the discussion forums.