Chinese search giant Baidu is reportedly moving to block cryptocurrency-related content on its online forums.
China Times, a Beijing-based business media outlet, reported on Sunday that Baidu is seeking to restrict or outright ban forum topics that discuss crypto-related activities on Baidu Tieba, the firm's Reddit-like online platform.
"Currently, the company has toughened its scrutiny over digital currency and will not allow sub-forums under this theme, based on relevant rules and regulations," the report said, citing an anonymous source close to the firm.
A representative for Baidu Tieba told CoinDesk that "the company will operate and manage its forum business based on existing Chinese laws and regulations" but did not give specific comment on crypto-related discussions.
At the moment, at least the "digital currency" and "virtual currency" sub-forums appear to be unavailable, as searching for those keywords triggers a statement saying: "This forum is temporarily closed due to relevant laws, regulations, and policies."
Commenting on such closure, a Baidu Tieba representative hinted that it was because these sub-forums were suspected of distributing information about initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency speculation.
"The same with why WeChat did it," the representative added, referring to the report last week that Tencent blocked several crypto media on its WeChat messaging platform due to posts about ICOs and crypto trading. Alibaba and Tencent have both said that they will continue monitoring and suspending accounts who use mobile payments applications to conduct over-the-counter crypto trading.
Launched in 2003, Baidu Tieba is the largest online forum community for Chinese internet users. The company claims its forum business now has around 300 million monthly active users.
That said, other sub-forums with relevant themes still exist and remain active on Baidu Tieba as of press time, such as "bitcoin," "ethereum," and "bitcoin mining," etc.
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