Baidu came under fire in 2016 when Wei Zexi, a 21-year
old student from Xidian University in Shaanxi province, died from a rare cancer of the soft tissue. Wei was re
searching the disease on Baidu and came across an advertisement for treatments that proved ineffective.
After Wei’s death, Baidu announced a sweeping restructuring and optimization of its medical business, especially regardi
ng its paid listing practices. It also tightened regulations on medical promotion and enforced clear labeling rul
es that differentiate advertisements from credible medical information, according to media reports.
However, medical advertising remains one of the key sources of income for Baidu, and some are still trying to exploit the s
ystem. In April, the police in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, detained a team of medical fraudsters who drove up r
ankings on Baidu’s research results to promote faulty hospitals to patients, local authorities said.