Hey. Brady here.
Some of you may not be familiar with Douban, so let’s talk a little bit about what the platform is.
Douban combines social elements with content creation, but in the context of film, literature, music, and even social issues. For example, in 2018, it was on Douban where a user posted about Alibaba’s sexually explicit “icebreaker” games. It’s fair to say that Douban is one of the most influential websites in China, particularly for millennials.
The company is also one of the firms that has been repeatedly warned by regulators to “rectify” their business practices. In September, Douban suspended its reply function—a core component of its social interactivity, an important component of its user experience. At the time, it cited “technical reasons” as the cause, but the prevalence of fan clubs on the site, at a time when officials were clamping down on idol worship, was more likely to be the reason.
More recently, Douban was fined for the 20th time, this time for hosting content deemed “harmful” and “unhealthy” by regulators. The larger point here is that it isn’t quite so easy for a company to change its course when it has many millions of active users. There’s also the issue where regulations are, at times, described in fuzzy terms. Interpreting them is an art in itself.
Mengyuan wrote about Douban’s latest headwinds. You can read her article here.
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