The battle between Chinese internet firms escalated in recent days after Beijing-based news and information content platform Toutiao announced it was planning to sue Chinese search engine Baidu Inc for "unfair competition attempt."
The Beijing Haidian District People's Court took the case on Tuesday, Toutiao said in a statement published on its WeChat account.
When users searched on Baidu for Toutiao, the first result showed that some content was compiled by unofficial sources, according to the statement published on Toutiao's official WeChat account. Then the second result led to the official website of Toutiao, however, upon clicking on the link, it came up with a warning that said "this website could not be visited because of an unstable server," the statement noted.
Toutiao said in a separate statement published on Monday that it has undergone a site safety test via a third-party website and the result showed that its website is in fact functioning normally. "This outcome proves that Baidu's search results and warning are misinformation," it said.
In recent years, Baidu has lost a large number of IT employees, according to the statement. However, the abnormal websearch results were probably not caused by this outflow, or made by temporary interns, Toutiao claimed. "We believe that it's a malicious effort to smear Toutiao's reputation," it said.
Baidu said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Tuesday that Toutiao faces a dilemma in its corporate development, and should not steer the public's attention to this "PR fight."
Toutiao's claim that Baidu has lost a large number of IT talents is not true and has damaged the company's reputation, the Chinese search engine noted.
Baidu's natural search results are related to user needs, relevance, timeliness and the user's click behavior, Baidu added.