Cyberspace Administration of China Fines Domestic Social Media Platform Douban for Publishing Unlawful Information

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said on Thursday it had summoned and fined social media company Douban over its alleged unlawful release of information. Regulators demanded “immediate rectifications” from the company.

Beijing authorities fined Douban’s operating entity Beijing Douwang Technology Co., Ltd. 1.5 million yuan ($235,000). From January to November, 2021, Beijing authorities imposed 20 separate penalties on Douban, totaling 9 million yuan.

Douban is an online platform upon which tens of millions of Chinese users review films and discuss various social topics. The platform also said its reply function had been suspended on Thursday and would be resumed on December 17.

CAC stressed that the website platform should improve its information security management system, including information release audits, public information inspections and emergency response, and that the platform must not provide any channels for illegal information to spread.

In October this year, Douban announced that it would carry out rectifications for chaotic user account operations. It said it would severely crack down on the reappearance of closed accounts with similar names, and deal with illegal information in users’ registered name.

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According to commercial inquiry platform Tianyancha, in April this year, Beijing Douwang Technology Co., Ltd. was fined about 16,000 yuan for violating advertising law. In August this year, the company was fined 40,000 yuan for publishing and disseminating online publications that promote obscenity, pornography, gambling and violence. In November this year, the company was fined 30,000 yuan again for illegally using the Olympic logo. In addition, the company is associated with a number of infringement disputes and reputation rights disputes.