A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source. See all Questionable sources.
- Overall, we rate Sohu.com Questionable based on the promotion of Pro-Chinese Government propaganda. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to bias by omission (censorship) as well as the use of other pro-Chinese propaganda sources.
Reasoning: Pro-State Propaganda, Censorship, Poor Sourcing
World Press Freedom Rank: China 177/180
Sohu Inc. (means “Search Fox”) is a Chinese online media, search, and game service company that provides news and information, entertainment, and communication services. Sohu is headquartered in Beijing, China. It also includes an interactive search engine sogou.com; a leading online game developer and operator changyou.com and the leading online video website tv.sohu.com. In 1997, SOHU Inc. was founded by Charles Zhang as an online search company called Internet Technologies China (ITC). In 2003 it became SOHU Inc. Charles Zhang currently is Chairman & Chief Executive Officer at Sohu.com Ltd., Chairman of Changyou.com Ltd. (a subsidiary of Sohu.com Ltd.) and Chairman at Sogou, Inc. He is also a member of the All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce.
Funded by / Ownership
Sohu.com Inc., was a Delaware corporation and in 2000, it began trading on NASDAQ. Sohu.com Limited, a Cayman Islands company, is the successor issuer of Sohu.com Inc., which began trading on the NASDAQ on June 1, 2018. Sohu posts their annual reports on its Web site: First Quarter 2020 Unaudited Financial Results. Revenue is derived through advertising.
Analysis / Bias
In 2019, China’s online watchdog The Cyberspace Administration of China (The CAC) ordered Baidu, a Chinese multinational technology company based in Beijing, but incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and Sohu to suspend news services for a week. Bloomberg reported with the headline “Baidu, Sohu Get Caught in Latest Chinese Internet Clampdown”. The CAC announced that “it was starting a six-month effort to eradicate “vulgar” information.” In other words, there is significant censorship by the government.
In review, Sohu publishes news that is generally pro-Chinese government such as this “Xi Jinping chaired the China-Africa Solidarity Anti-epidemic Summit and delivered a keynote speech” and often celebrates President Xi Jinping “Xi Jinping: I believe that humanity will eventually overcome the epidemic”. When it comes to sourcing, Sohu utilizes questionable Chinese news sources such as Xinhua, Guancha News and the state-owned Beijing News, as well as credible sources such as USA Today. While many stories are factual and low biased, there is a significant bias by omission where they do not report negatively on the Chinese Government due to Chinese government pressure. When it comes to covering the USA, Sohu typically uses minimally loaded emotional language and a negative tone to describe the Trump administration “What internet search data reveal about Trump’s first year”. In general, Sohu publishes pro-State propaganda.
Failed Fact Checks
- None to date
Overall, we rate Sohu.com Questionable based on the promotion of Pro-Chinese Government propaganda. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to bias by omission (censorship) as well as the use of other pro-Chinese propaganda sources. (M. Huitsing 6/18/2020)