Douban logo.svg
Type of site
Web 2.0, Social network service, Online music, movie and book database
Available inChinese
Key peopleYang Bo
LaunchedMarch 6, 2005; 17 years ago (2005-03-06)
Current statusActive (Chinese: 豆瓣; pinyin: Dòubàn), launched on 6 March 2005, is a Chinese social networking service website that allows registered users to record information and create content related to film, books, music, recent events, and activities in Chinese cities. Douban is named after a Hutong in Chaoyang District, Beijing where the founder lived while he began work on the website.[1] Douban is at times regarded as functionally similar to Reddit.[2]

Douban was formerly open to both registered and unregistered users. For registered users, the website recommends potentially interesting books, movies, and music to them in addition to serving as a social network website such as WeChat, Weibo and record keeper. For unregistered users, the website is a place to find ratings and reviews of media.

Douban has about 200 million registered users as of 2013[3] and some Chinese authors as well as critics register their official personal pages on the website.


Douban (Beijing Douwang Technology Co. Ltd.)[4] was founded by Yang Bo (杨勃). He majored in physics at Tsinghua University before he attended University of California, San Diego as a PhD student. After receiving his PhD in computational physics, he worked as a research scientist at IBM. Later, he returned to China, becoming the CTO of a software company founded by one of his friends.

In 2005, Yang started to create a website for travelling named Lüzong (驴宗), initially a one-person project at a Starbucks in Beijing. In a couple of months, however, the site was transformed into what is now known as[citation needed]


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Douban has attracted a large number of intellectuals who are eager to discuss social issues. This makes Douban vulnerable to censorship by the Chinese government. Douban reviews all content posted on the website, preventing some material from being posted in the first place, and taking down other materials after the fact.[16]

Removal of the Renaissance

In March 2009, Douban removed art paintings of the Renaissance on the grounds that they contained 'pornographic' elements.[16][17][18] This led to a campaign called "Portraits: Dress up" in which internet users were asked to dress up images of famous renaissance nudes in a protest against Douban's self-censorship. The administrators then removed the discussion about the campaign.[16]

Keyword bans

That year also saw the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, and Douban further extended its keyword list to ban any terms that are likely to relate to the incident.[19][20] One example is the ban on mentioning Victoria Park in Hong Kong, the venue where the memorial gathering for the 20th anniversary was held, in the fear that it may lead to sensitive discussions. Users also found that some discussion groups, like the Hong Kong cultural study group hkren (一兜)[1], were suddenly banned and all topics were removed without any notice. This angered some members, causing them to move to other similar websites that employ less strict self-censorship policies.[16]

LGBT groups

In 2011, some Chinese lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups announced that they had planned to boycott Douban as their posts announcing an LGBT-themed film festival had been censored by the website. In mainland China, films and television programs with LGBT themes are subject to state censorship.[21]

Temporary removal of reply function

On 6 September 2021, Douban temporarily shut down its reply function for a period of seven days, citing "technical reasons". The move was controversial as it coincided with a statement issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China, or CAC for short, that scrutiny will be tightened against "chaotic fan culture" perpetuated online. Douban later released a statement pledging to levy heavier penalties on users that conducted unlawful and irrational behaviors. This included utilizing click farming to raise the ranks of celebrities on popularity leaderboards, posting disparaging comments, and spreading malicious gossip. Douban also stated that it may suspend user accounts that engage in these activities, or even dismantle entire online groups if members violate rules.[22]

Shortly after the statements issued by the CAC and Douban, several fan groups on the platform had to rename their communities to indicate a change in attitude toward celebrity culture and fandoms. Some groups said they would no longer accept posts about celebrity gossip. Some Douban users also contemplated moving to other social media platforms such as sports forum Hupu and Reddit-like Baidu Tieba.[22]

The Douban Goose Group

Douban is host to the Douban Goose Group, a community of members whom are mostly young women that share gossip and news about celebrities. As women far outnumbered men in the group, topics of discussion often veered towards matters of gender equality too, which has received clapback. Members of the group, sometimes known as "sisters", were often labeled as "radical feminists" who sought to disrupt the status quo. Some of their posts on the Douban platform have reportedly been deleted, and some users have even received outright bans for "improper speech".[2]


Douban's administrators have at times been suspected of infringing user privacy. In 2015, a group of Douban users alleged that their privacy had been violated. One of the users stated that Douban deleted his backup data in a private group without his consent, which should have been confidential information and no one should be able to see it except the users. [23]

On 15 April 2021, the Beijing Internet Court announced that it had accepted a case involving disputes over the privacy rights and personal information protection of Douban. In this case, a user accused Douban of collecting personal location information and demanded compensation of a loss of 1 yuan.[24] Douban was sued for infringing user privacy. According to the user, he never authorized Douban to obtain his personal information regarding his geographic location, although Douban were nonetheless able to push advertisements based on his location.[25]

According to Douban's privacy policy, location information is treated as additional personal data collected, and users can give or withdraw authorization at any time. According to this policy, Douban does not admit that collecting location information is an infringement of user privacy.[26]

The Wandering Earth ratings

Douban has been accused that many users of Douban purposely gave The Wandering Earth, a 2019 Chinese science-fiction film, one star. Critics further accused that some users "change their given five stars to one star" and some users are paid to give one star to the film, which later turned out to be false. On 12 February 2019, Douban officially announced that "mass score-changing is abnormal and it won't be counted in the total score. To avoid such incidents, we are urgently optimizing product features." in its official Sina Weibo account.[27]


  1. ^ "豆瓣杨勃:为梦想而一直努力". Archived from the original on 2019-01-30. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  2. ^ a b "With their voices stifled on Douban, China's largest online community of women seek new home". KrASIA. 2022-01-21. Retrieved 2022-01-24.
  3. ^ "豆瓣宣布月覆盖用户数达2亿 同比增长一倍". TechWeb. 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
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  5. ^ "发现小组". 2005-03-06. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
  6. ^ "豆瓣同城_上海". 2005-03-06. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
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  11. ^ "豆瓣上线内容付费产品"豆瓣时间" 首推课程为北岛的诗歌课_科技_腾讯网". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  12. ^ "豆瓣上线内容付费产品"豆瓣时间" 首推课程为北岛的诗歌课_科技_腾讯网". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  13. ^ "新京报 - 好新闻,无止境". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  14. ^ "新京报 - 好新闻,无止境". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  15. ^ "新京报 - 好新闻,无止境". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  16. ^ a b c d "泥马战河蟹 草根斗权威". BBC中文网. 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
  17. ^ "给大卫像穿衣抗议政府封网". BBC中文网. 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
  18. ^ "网友响应反低俗号召 给名画"穿上"衣服". 信息时报. 2009-02-10. Archived from the original on 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  19. ^ Custer, C. (3 June 2013). "What to Expect on June 4, China's Unofficial and Orwellian 'Internet Maintenance Day'". Tech in Asia. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  20. ^ Honorof, Marshall (4 June 2013). "China marks Tiananmen Massacre with 'Internet Maintenance Day'". NBC News.
  21. ^ Jiang, Jessie (1 July 2011). "Beijing's Gay Community Fights Censorship". Time.
  22. ^ a b "Chinese social media platform Douban suspends reply function while regulators scrutinize fan culture". KrASIA. 2021-09-08. Retrieved 2022-01-24.
  23. ^ "豆瓣被起诉侵犯用户隐私,互联网企业没有清白者_详细解读_最新资讯_热点事件_36氪". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  24. ^ cnBeta. "豆瓣回应"被诉侵犯用户隐私":存误解原告已撤诉 双方达成和解 - 社交 - SNS 社交网络". cnBeta.COM (in Chinese (China)). Retrieved 2021-04-19.
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  27. ^ Chen, Yuxi (2019-02-12). 《流浪地球》遭大量改分?豆瓣:前500热评仅4人跨星修改. The Paper (in Chinese). Retrieved 2019-02-12.