China’s slamming of Google appears to have sparked an online backlash among some Web users in China.
Google’s recent troubles began with a CCTV news broadcast that chastised the company for allowing users to find pornography and other vulgar content via the Chinese version of its search engine, Google.cn.
The program included an interview with a young man named Gao Ye, who was described as a university student.
Gao (shown here during the broadcast) complained that the pornographic content on Google.cn was particularly harmful. He said in the interview, ‘I have this fellow student and he’s been curious about these kinds of things. He visited porn Web sites and ended up becoming absent-minded for a while.’
Which sounds pretty authentic. Viewing porn sites causes memory loss. Not a known syndrome but possible, possible.
Some viewers doubted the truth of Gao’s comments and suspected that he had been coached beforehand. So an Internet search was carried out — there is no place to hide — and it appears that he is a current intern with CCTV. His page on the popular Chinese social networking site Xiaonei.com seemed to support the claim that he was working for the state broadcaster at the time of the interview.
Internet users also dug up and published other personal information about Gao, including his mobile phone number, details of his QQ instant messaging account, and even photos of him and his girlfriend. Somewhat embarrasing for a young chap.
The Wall Street Journal Online said others saw a connection to a CCTV report last year that criticized rival search engine Baidu’s practice of offering paid search listings.
Baidu was later reported to have spent about RMB40 million for advertising and sponsorships with CCTV. Web users, a suspicious lot, suggested that perhaps the broadcaster was hoping to land a similar deal with Google.