Baidu faces punishment for pornography
Baidu promises to work with non-profit organisations to improve the quality of medical information on TiebaGetty Images

Chinese internet search giant Baidu has been hauled up by the technology regulator for allegedly hosting fake advertisements, pornography and leaks of personal information. The State Internet Information Office which had interrogated Baidu executives said: "Some search results on Baidu are not impartial or objective, and its news channel has spread harmful information involving violence and terrorism."

Baidu, which faces unspecified punishment, is reported to have apologised for financially exploiting medical information bulletin boards. It said it would stop the practice on its Tieba or Post Bar site, the largest Chinese communication platform. It started functioning in 2003 and hosts about 19 million forums catering to a wide range of topics, reports the Financial Times.

The internet watchdog attacked the company for replacing its haemophilia bulletin board with a private hospital that is accused of providing inadequate service. As many as 36 non-profit organisations have filed a complaint against Baidu with the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce for allegedly violating the country's advertising law.

Baidu said it would work with non-profit organisations to improve the quality of medical information on Tieba. Baidu said on its official Weibo account: "We've heard a broad range of criticism and advice from media and netizens, as well as the voices of Tieba users. This incident has exposed a dereliction of duty in the management of our Tieba commercialisation."

This is not the first time Baidu is facing such accusations. In February 2011 Baidu faced an anti-monopoly investigation following complaints from Hudong.com, the Chinese encyclopaedia website. It had even sought $120.3m (£84.3m, €110m) in compensation from Baidu.

Pan Haidong, the chairman and chief executive officer of Hudong.com, claimed: "We believe that Baidu has used its dominant position to bully and block competitors."

In August 2011, the Chinese state television broadcaster alleged that Baidu allowed sellers of fake medicine to advertise on its site.