The Red book (Xiaohongshu) has been criticized many times for its lax content review, which has caused public controversy.

Introduction to The Little Red book (Xiaohongshu)

As early as the 1990s, the World Wide Web invented by Tim Berners-Lee changed the way information is accessed and shared on the Internet. The use of the Internet grew rapidly and became commercialized. The commercialization of the Internet has promoted the rise of e-commerce and online services( Leiner et al., 2017). Various platforms that combine social media with e-commerce have begun to become new ways for people to entertain, relax, work, and shop. With the outbreak of covid-19, it has taken on an even more important place in people’s lives.Little Red book, as one of the most popular platforms that combines social media and e-commerce in China, has been widely loved by young women in recent years. Little Red book is known as the ‘Chinese version of Instagram’. In the Little Red book community, users can share their lives, shopping experiences through video blogs, and share creative content through photos, text, videos, live broadcasts, etc(Wikipedia, 2023). It can interact with other users through likes, comments, private messages, etc., and find content and products that interest it through the search function. Merchants can also achieve publicity purposes through the red book ’ s marketing. According to Qiangua’s 2022 the red book Active User Portrait Trend Report, the number of monthly active users of the red book will reach 200 million in 2022, 72% of which are users born in the 1990s. (Daxueconsulting, 2023) These data are enough to illustrate the practicality and popularity of The little Red book.

False propaganda and marketing of The red book ‘ s content

Social Media Marketing” by jayninelessons is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In recent years, the red book has repeatedly been criticized by the public for false propaganda due to lax content review. Commercial content moderation is the organized practice of screening user-generated content posted on internet sites, social media and other online channels(Roberts, 2019).In fact, the red book has always been relatively strict with its content requirements. First of all, it must be true and cannot be false or exaggerated. Secondly, it must comply with laws, regulations and community norms, such as prohibiting violence, fraud, pornography, etc. Third, it cannot contain advertising and must be original.Although the rules are relatively strict, various false propaganda still emerge in endlessly. In 2019, China’s official media CCTV News criticized the red book ’s false propaganda phenomenon, saying that there is a black industry chain of ghostwriting, brushing comments, saying likes, etc. to conduct false propaganda and marketing to induce and deceive users into consumption. . (Jingrongjie, 2019) On October 18, 2021, the People’s Daily of China commented on the phenomenon of filter attractions in the red book , saying that filters should not filter out reputation and credibility, and spontaneous sharing cannot be a cloak for commercial promotion. (Yijian Finance, 2021) For these reasons, the public’s discussion of the red book is getting higher and higher, but the degree of trust is getting lower and lower. In order to solve these problems, the red book has also taken some measures to solve the problem of false propaganda. In 2019, the red book processed a total of 4.4357 million cheating notes, banned 21.28 million accounts involving black industry, and intercepted 1.423 billion illegal cheating behaviors. (Yijian Finance, 2021). This is undoubtedly a very large number. In 2021, the red book launched the Woodpecker Project to delete posts of 29 brands to combat false propaganda and marketing. (JingDaily,2021)However, judging from the current situation of the red book , the benefits are very small, and it often even affects ordinary users who are carrying out normal activities. the red book needs to work harder to solve the problem of controlling false propaganda and content review.

  • This video is about the red book’s content moderation issues that led to its removal from the app store, and also talks about the impact of the removal on it.

The red book suspected of pornographic content

The content of the red book involving pornographic issues has been widely discussed by the public and users. In 2021, the red book was named and criticized by Chinese state media for violating the privacy of minors and conducting soft pornography. According to CCTV reports, the red book pushes videos that reveal the body privacy of minors to users, and the photographers are all minors themselves. At the same time, CCTV reporters also discovered that some of the messages and comments in these pushed videos contained strong sexual implications. (sohu, 2021) Despite widespread public condemnation of child pornography, Internet agencies often escape mandatory regulation requiring them to filter such material and content. (Keen, 2020) This aroused strong public dissatisfaction, and in the following years the red book continued to experience frequent pornographic incidents. In 2022, a company affiliated with the red book was fined US$41,150 for violating the Minor Protection Law, and was even removed from the shelves for rectification. In 2023, ” the red book looks for travel partners suspected of containing pornographic information” again aroused widespread discussion.(Global Times,2023)  To sum up, it can be seen that the red book has been involved in pornographic scandals many times. Social media platforms give people more opportunities to contact society, communicate with others and express themselves, but at the same time they also bring many dangers, such as pornography, violence, fraud, harassment and so on. Although the red book stated that it has conducted a comprehensive investigation of related posts, and stated that the platform fully respects the social needs of users and strongly opposes all kinds of deliberate slander and hype. However, the problem still has not been solved very effectively.

Content moderation and accountability

Open Government Partnership Summit 2013” by gdsteam is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

As far as the current situation is concerned, we can see that there are big problems with the content review of the red book. The red book completes content review through artificial intelligence and manual review. First, a preliminary review will be conducted by AI according to system rules to detect sensitive words, illegal words, low-quality photos, etc. Some content that cannot be detected by the AI ​​algorithm will be judged as suspected violations and handed over to manual review for review (Fortune Intelligence, 2023) .This review method has certain flaws. It is difficult for the platform itself to conduct strict content review and prevent the spread of content that has a negative impact. Because platform review supervision is difficult to solve on a large scale, the speed at which users publish content means that it is impossible for the platform to pre-review or review all content in advance. Only when the content is marked as problematic by AI review or receives enough complaints, will it make money. to manual review, it follows that regulating the Internet poses clear challenges and no regulatory system will be completely effective.(Flew, 2019) For this problem, the government, society and individual users are all responsible. Platforms like the red book should cooperate with the government and society to deal with the harm caused by lax content review.Personally, everyone should start from themselves, strictly review the content posted on social platforms, not spread negative and harmful content, and report those who spread negative content. For communities and platforms, the content review mechanism should be strengthened and improved, a reporting mechanism should be established, and those who violate regulations should be severely punished. At the same time, the platform should continue to update and develop auditing AI technology to make its auditing more accurate. The government should actively improve laws and regulations on the content of social media platforms, clarify the responsibilities of the platforms, and strengthen cooperation with the platforms.


Widely used social media and e-commerce platforms like the redbook provide more convenient information sharing and acquisition. But even though it is often used for sharing, communication and other purposes, there are still people who use this platform to engage in cyberbullying, promote false information and other deviant activities to influence the public(Bandeli&Agarwal, 2021).These platforms have also had a negative impact on the entire society due to lax content review and improper governance. Among them, the most prominent ones are induced consumption and fraudulent behaviors caused by false propaganda, as well as the spread of inappropriate content such as pornography and violence. Although each platform has taken corresponding measures to solve and manage the problem, the effect is not obvious. It can be seen that there are still certain deficiencies in the way of content review, and this is not solely the responsibility of the platform. Governments, platforms, and individuals all have responsibilities in preventing the spread of negative content. Therefore, we should work together and cooperate with each other to build a more harmonious and healthy network environment.

Reference List

Caifu Zhixing, (2023, 08 12). Xiaohongshu operation recommendation mechanism summary and sharing.

Daxue ,consulting. (2023, 01 17). How to succeed on Little Red book in China (Xiaohongshu).

Daxue, consulting. (2019, April 5). Why Xiaohongshu (RED) was removed from APP stores August 2019 – Daxue Consulting with Miro Li. Youtube.

Flew, Terry; Martin, Fiona;& Suzor, Nicolas.(2019). Internet regulation as media policy: Rethinking the question of digital communication platform governance. Journal of digital media & policy. 10(1), 33-50.

Global Times. (2023, 09 01). China’s lifestyle-oriented app Xiaohongshu vows serious punishment on travel-paterner-seeking posting after alleged links to pornographic content.

Jing Daily. (2021, 11 18). Xiaohongshu deletes posts by 29 brands in ‘false marketing’ crackdown.

Jingrong Jie. (2019, 12 23). CCTV named and criticized! Something happened again in Xiaohongshu.

Keen, Caroline ; Kramer, Ronald ;& France, Alan. (2020). The pornographic state: the changing nature of state regulation in addressing illegal and harmful online content. Media, culture & society.42(7-8). 1175- 1192.

Leiner, Barry M. ; Cerf, Vinton G. ; Clark, David D. ; Kahn, Robert E. ; Kleinrock, Leonard ; Lynch, Daniel C. ; Postel, Jon ; Roberts, Larry G. & Wolff, Stephen. (2009). A brief history of the internet. Computer communication reviews. 39(5), 22-31.

Roberts, Sarah T. (2019) .Understanding Commercial Content Moderation. Behind the Screen : Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media.(33-72).Yale University Press.

Sohu. (2021, 12 19). The central media called the name, Xiaohongshu became Xiaohuangshu? Company apologizes after being exposed for “sexually suggestive content for minors”

Wikipedia. (2023, 09 27). Xiaohongshu.

Yijian Finance. (2021, 10 25). Xiaohongshu was named and criticized by state media.