The parents of Wei Zexi, a computer science major at Xidian University in Shaanxi province who died of a rare form of cancer, wait outside a funeral home in Xianyang, Shaanxi, on April 13. WAN JIA / FOR CHINA DAILY
The central government has set up an investigation team to probe search engine giant Baidu, after the company was accused by a hospital patient, who since has died, of providing misleading medical treatment information.
Nasdaq-listed Baidu has been under mounting public pressure since a couple said online that their 21-year-old son died of cancer after receiving immunotherapy at a hospital in Beijing.
The parents said their son learned of the treatment and the hospital by researching the disease on Baidu, and that the hospital was listed second from the top on the first page of search results.
Before Wei's death, he also had posted about his experience on the Q&A website Zhihu, calling the treatment useless and criticizing Baidu's paid listing practice.
Paid listing is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites. The system, under which an advertiser pays a search engine for each time an ad is clicked, has long been a major source of revenue for Baidu.