Baidu Inc. (BIDU) said on Monday it has fired four employees suspected of having taken payments to delete posts from its website.
Baidu spokeswoman Betty Tian confirmed in an email to Dow Jones Newswires on Monday that three employees had been arrested by the police due to the large amounts of money that had been transferred in exchange for the deletions. She didn't elaborate on why only three of the employees had been arrested.
The emailed statement follows local media reports that Baidu has fired several employees over payments in return for deleting content.
"Baidu has always firmly cracked down on the illegal behavior of online posts deletion for payment," the Ms. Tian wrote in an email.
Baidu said that illegal deletion of online posts remains a major problem in China, and that it would proactively report illegal activity to the authorities. It is common for individuals or companies to pay money to have controversial or negative posts deleted from websites and blogs, according to Chinese media reports.
Baidu said that it maintains a record of original posts and of deletions made by employees, and verifies the records later.