“Science cop” Fang Zhouzi seems to be remaining quiet after yesterday stating that he planned to sue Qihoo 360 for alleging that he had been hired by Baidu to spread false reports about the safety of Qihoo’s 360 Browser. But despite Fang’s silence, Qihoo appears to be doubling down on the rhetoric. Qihoo CEO Zhou Hongyi’s weibo account remains filled with posts about Fang, including several new “long weibo” statements. Zhou has said repeatedly that Fang isn’t “attacking fakes” but rather “fake attacking,” and he has even established a new “refuting rumors” website that appears to feature a crude caricature of Fang with a “Baidu” sign around his neck.
Speaking of refuting rumors, we should probably pause here to say that Baidu has categorically denied that it has in any way attempted to pay or influence Fang Zhouzi or Sima Nan. As Qihoo has yet to provide any evidence whatsoever that Baidu is connected to the Fang Zhouzi attacks, I’m inclined to believe that Zhou Hongyi is basically just making this up.
In fact, you know what? No. I am abandoning my attempt at editorial balance. Fang Zhouzi can definitely be kind of an ass, and I get the impression he’s not super careful about fact-checking every one of his accusations (some of what he has said about Qihoo is pretty obviously wrong), but Qihoo’s response has been utterly ridiculous. And it’s not like this is the first time this has happened. Time and time again, Zhou Hongyi has reacted to questions about his products with invective, threats, slogans, and a deluge of negative weibo posts. He may be right some of the time, but frankly, I don’t care. Shut up, Zhou. Just shut up. If your products are good, let them speak for themselves. If they’re not, then work on improving them. Working your way into juvenile slapfights online every other week is just pathetic, and even when you win them, you look like a loser.
Moreover, your accusation that Baidu is paying Fang Zhouzi to attack Qihoo is apparently totally unsubstantiated and it doesn’t even make sense. Fang has been going after companies for ethical violations for more than a decade; how idiotic would one have to be to approach a man like that and say “Hey, we’d like to pay you money to unethically attack our competitors!” Even if Baidu were inclined to do that, in what universe could that possibly be worth the risk of Fang refusing and then outing Baidu for fraud and attempted bribery? I don’t care what you think of Baidu’s ethics; you don’t get to be the biggest search engine in China by being that straight-up dumb.
Of course, I suppose one shouldn’t be too surprised at Zhou Hongyi’s public response to criticism given the revelation that he runs his company like a tyrant with employees living in fear of making him angry. But seriously, enough is enough. If Zhou is a tech CEO, he needs to give up the trash talk and go back to making stuff. If he’s not ready to do that, then he ought to resign his post at Qihoo 360 and become a battle rapper.