Baidu and Weibo, two of the biggest internet services in China, appear to be taking coordinated censorship effort on keywords of the three major crypto exchanges that cater to Chinese investors.
Searching either the Chinese or English names of Huobi, Binance and OKEx on both the desktop and mobile version of Google-like search giant Baidu now shows zero search results, The Block has learned. This is the first known instance that Baidu is censoring search results based on keywords relating to the cryptocurrency space.
However, it appears the censorship effort on Baidu is taking effect gradually as Baidu has not yet banned search results on keywords that contain the name of the three crypto exchanges. For instance, searching for "Huobi app download" instead of only "Huobi" in Chinese on Baidu still generates millions of results.
Meanwhile, Twitter-like social media platform Weibo is taking a similarly coordinated measure. Currently searching for any keyword, or combination of keywords, containing either the English or Chinese names of Huobi, OKEx and Binance, generates no search results at all on Weibo's desktop and mobile fronts. But while the search results no longer appear, the posts have not been deleted and are still available to view directly.
Cracking down on crypto
It's unknown when exactly the two internet giants pressed the censorship button but Chinese users started to notice the change late afternoon on Wednesday local time. Such measures arrived not long after the recent high-level comment from the Chinese central government about cracking down on bitcoin trading and mining activities.
In addition to self-censorship that's often related to politically sensitive content, Chinese internet services also take directions from the Cyberspace Administration of China regarding additional terms or content that should be filtered in search results.
It appears the two internet giants are targeting top tier exchanges that serve Chinese crypto traders at this point. Other exchanges or terms like Bitcoin or Ethereum are not censored.
This comes on the same day that the Changji prefecture government in Xinjiang issued a notice to shut down bitcoin miners in the Zhundong Economic Technological Development Park, a notable bitcoin mining hub in the region.
Weibo's censorship also comes days after it suspended more than 25 accounts of crypto influencers who had been active with millions of followers combined.