What happened: In recent days, netizens raised concerns that users on rating and discussion platform Douban are being bribed to change their positive reviews of sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth into negative ones. Douban has denied the claims, saying that of 500 top-rated reviews for the movie, only four users have chosen to add or subtract more than one star from their rating. In addition, the platform said that if a rating undergoes a major change, it’s no longer reflected in the average score for a movie.
Why it’s important: Users have accused Douban movie reviewers of being similarly influenced before, with at least one netizen claiming to have lost faith in their online ratings system. In the case of The Wandering Earth, hailed for being China’s first homegrown sci-fi hit, scrutiny may be even higher: negative ratings on the influential site could detract from its currently booming popularity. As of Feb. 13, though, the movie still holds a relatively high Douban score of 7.9.