Type of site
|Web 2.0, Social network service, Online music, movie and book database|
|Alexa rank||273 (February 2016[update])|
|Launched||March 6, 2005|
Douban.com (Chinese: 豆瓣; pinyin: Dòubàn), launched on March 6, 2005, is a Chinese social networking service website allowing registered users to record information and create content related to film, books, music, recent events and activities in Chinese cities. It can be seen as one of the most influential web 2.0 websites in China. Douban also owns an internet radio station, which ranks No.1 in iOS App Store in 2012. Unlike Facebook and Renren, Douban is open to both registered and unregistered users. For registered users, the site recommends potentially interesting books, movies, and music to them in addition to serving as a social network website and record keeper; for unregistered users, the site is a place to find ratings and reviews of said media.
Douban has about 200 million registered users in 2013.
The site serves pan-Chinese users, and its contents are in Chinese. It covers works and media in Chinese and in foreign languages. Some Chinese authors and critics register their official personal pages on the site.
Douban is founded by Yang Bo (杨勃). He had majored in physics in Tsinghua University before he attended University of California at San Diego as a PhD student. After having received 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 web 2.0 site for travelling named Lüzong (驴宗), initially a one-man project at a Starbucks in Beijing. In a couple of months, however, the site was transformed to what is now known as Douban.com.
- Year 2005
- March 6, account registration was opened to the public
- March 8, Group (小组) was released
- March 9, the first topic appeared in the Group
- July 6, the traditional Chinese version of website was published
- August 23, Douban Location (豆瓣同城) got online to provide users to share and discover local events and activities
- December 8, English version of website was opened for public testing
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. 
In March 2009, Douban removed art paintings of the Renaissance on the grounds that they contained 'pornographic' elements. 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 discussion about the campaign was then removed by the administrators.
That year also saw the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and Douban has further extended its keyword list to ban any terms that are likely to relate to the incident. One example is the ban on merely 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, 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.
In 2011, some Chinese lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups announced that they 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 programmes with LGBT themes are subject to state censorship.
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