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Baidu ordered to clean up search results after student's death

China's technology and consumer driven economic transition

China's top Internet search company has been ordered to change the way it displays results after an investigation into the death of a student who relied on its services to look for cancer treatments.

China's cyberspace regulator ruled Monday that Baidu's search results are not clearly labeled, lack objectivity and heavily favor advertisers.

The Internet giant has until May 31 to change its search algorithm to ensure that results are based on credibility, and limit the size of advertisements to 30% of a results page. The company must also clean up its medical services ads and remove offers from unauthorized providers.

Baidu (BIDU, Tech30) drew the attention of investigators after it was mentioned in a widely shared online post written in February by Wei Zexi, who was suffering a rare form of cancer.

Wei recounted that in a desperate move to save him, his parents had borrowed money and sought an experimental treatment at a military hospital in Beijing based on Baidu search results.

"Baidu, I didn't know how evil it is and how it ranks medical information based on a bidding process," he wrote. "We thought: Baidu, a...