Chinese Internet search engine Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has fired four people, accusing them of taking bribes to delete content from the company’s web forums.
Three of the terminated employees have been arrested and charged by authorities in connection to the alleged activity, the BBC reports.
According to a Baidu spokesperson, the employees involved received payments in the “tens of thousands of yuan” to remove certain content from the website.
Shares of Baidu jumped almost 3% in early Monday trading in New York.
Once it became aware of the activity, Baidu says it fired the workers and reported them to police.
An underground market of hackers exists in China promising to erase internet postings for a price.
China has been criticized by free speech advocates in western nations for the high levels of censorship imposed by its communist government on news and entertainment websites.
Traffic from websites outside China, deemed unacceptale to the ruling Communist Party, is routinely blocked from Chinese users, a system often described as “The Great Firewall,” a reference to the hundreds of miles of defensive fortifications largely constructed during the fourteeth century to defend China from northern invaders.