IndustryBaidu Hit With Lawsuit Over Gay Conversion Search Results

Baidu Hit With Lawsuit Over Gay Conversion Search Results

China's largest search engine is reportedly facing a lawsuit after it displayed results for a clinic falsely claiming it could make gay men straight.

Beijing-based Web services company Baidu is facing a lawsuit after it displayed search results from a clinic that falsely claimed it could make gay men heterosexual, MarketWatch reports.

The 30-year-old plaintiff, who is identified by the alias Xiao Zhen, is suing Baidu and the Chongqing-based Xinyupiaoxiang Clinic. According to MarketWatch, the clinic was the first result displayed by Baidu after Zhen searched for “gay treatment,” but the clinic did not have a legitimate psychiatry license and administered electroshock treatment as part of its conversion therapy.

MarketWatch also reports that Baidu said the clinic had a business license for psychological counseling and the difference between counseling and treatment is hard to distinguish.

In addition, the MarketWatch story says Baidu doesn’t differentiate between paid and organic search results, unlike other search engines like Google.

In an email, a Baidu rep says the search engine is not commenting on cases that are still in the legal process, but notes the MarketWatch piece has “many inaccuracies,” including the above statement.

“This is simply not true,” the rep writes. “Baidu very clearly distinguishes between paid and organic results: Paid results are either in the right-hand column or at the top of the page marked by the word 推广 [sponsored links] or with a color undertone.”

Zhen is suing for more than 10,000 yuan ($1,620), MarketWatch reports. A verdict is pending.

In March, Google encrypted search hit China in an effort to combat online surveillance. Google pulled most of its operations out of mainland China in 2010 in part because it didn’t want to censor user searches or present alternative search results that were government approved and, as of March, its search share in China was at about 5 percent.

Related Articles

Hitchhiker’s guide to the end of the third-party cookie as we know it

Analytics Hitchhiker’s guide to the end of the third-party cookie as we know it

1w Matt Moore
How to improve your SEO after Google’s spot-zero-termination

Industry How to improve your SEO after Google’s spot-zero-termination

3w Tereza Litsa
Is SEO dead in 2020?

Industry Is SEO dead in 2020?

1m Sian Thomas
A look at performance post Google's average position sunset: Top vs side

Industry A look at performance post Google's average position sunset: Top vs side

1m Jason Tabeling
Six must-know international SEO tips to expand your business

Development Six must-know international SEO tips to expand your business

1m Edward Coram James
Searchmetrics report: How Amazon and Google help each other

Industry Searchmetrics report: How Amazon and Google help each other

1m Barry Levine
The changing face of search: Dynamic content and experiences that perform

Industry The changing face of search: Dynamic content and experiences that perform

2m Jim Yu
Case Study: How BDCenter transformed a reputation from 48% negative on Google to neutral

Industry Case Study: How BDCenter transformed a reputation from 48% negative on Google to neutral

2m BDCenter

Resources

SEO for Website Redesign and Migration

SEO SEO for Website Redesign and Migration

6m
Ever-Changing GoalPosts - SEO Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Analytics Ever-Changing GoalPosts - SEO Challenges and How to Overcome Them

6m
7 Unexpected PPC + SEO Strategies for Growth Marketing

Content 7 Unexpected PPC + SEO Strategies for Growth Marketing

6m
All About Click Fraud and How You Can Block It

PPC All About Click Fraud and How You Can Block It

8m