Douban ordered to conduct rectification over failure to scrutinize illegal content
Published: Dec 03, 2021 02:00 AM
Douban app photo:VCG

Douban app photo:VCG

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has ordered Chinese media review site Douban to immediately rectify and deal with a serious situation after the company repeatedly failed to conduct proper scrutiny over its content.

The orders were made in a meeting after the CAC summoned the platform on Wednesday. A financial punishment of 1.5 million yuan ($235,000) was also handed down by Beijing’s cyberspace administration to the company.

From January to November, Beijing’s cyberspace administration under the instruction of the CAC imposed 20 penalties on Douban, with a fine of up to 500,000 yuan on multiple occasions, adding up to a total fine of 9 million yuan, according to a statement from the CAC on Thursday.

The CAC stressed in the meeting with heads of Douban that the platform should improve information security management systems such as information release review, public information inspections, and emergency response.

Douban must further strengthen the management of information released by their users, and must not provide a dissemination platform for illegal information, while protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the people, the CAC said.

The platform has been called out by government authorities for illegal content several times, but it was still providing a hotbed for dissemination of illegal content out of its commercial interests, which shows that there is a problem with the values of this company, Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday.

“Other platform companies should also be vigilant and learn from this,” Liu noted.

Douban's case is very rare in the domestic internet industry, the expert said, since Douban has been interviewed many times without fundamentally addressing its problems, which shows that it has not paid adequate attention to it.

Experts believe that more measures could follow.

The company has ignored the adequate management of its content for the sake of pursuing commercial interests, which has led to the situation as it is today, Liu said.

In accordance with the rectification requirements of relevant departments, Douban has suspended the use of some of its functions including the group response function from Thursday to December 17. The content update for the featured channel will also be suspended.

Douban will strictly follow the management requirements, strengthen online information management in accordance with laws and regulations, and actively maintain good order on the platform, the company said.
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