Hi there. It’s Brady.
If there is one platform that has shaped how young people in China consume entertainment and pop culture, it is Douban. The platform is a blend of Reddit, Rotten Tomatoes, Goodreads, and more, and has been operating since 2005.
Douban’s discussion groups were where intense fandoms would unfold (sometimes in unhealthy ways), box office results could be shaped, and social commentary flowed. As Mengyuan put it, Douban “earned a reputation for being a relatively liberal forum for users who are typically well-educated and supportive of progressive values such as women’s rights.”
All of that came to a grinding halt last year. Its reply function was disabled, killing the possibility of having a conversation. Then, Douban was removed from app stores, and it still hasn’t been reinstated. Some users who were part of the “Douban Goose Group,” where women far outnumbered men, were banned for posting “improper speech.”
There were other developments, like repeated fines by the government for Douban’s failure to censor content. The latest is that officials from China’s internet regulator will be posted in Douban’s office. While the exact nature of their intentions haven’t been shared publicly, the general goal is to rein in what officials have called “online chaos.”
Mengyuan had the story. You can read her article here.
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