E-commerce platform Xiaohongshu, also called RED or Little Red Book, is cracking down on online sellers offering to boost views and fan counts after reports from users.

For Xiaohongshu fraud allegations, if unaddressed, could prove especially harmful. The largely for females social platform is centered on product reviews and recommendations posted by users.

The site and app previously required bloggers to label all promotional posts, and limit paid content to one in five posts at most. Commercial content that goes unlabeled “won’t be recommended in search results,” the site post says.

According to a RED representative, the site’s anti-fraud team employs machine learning as well as live humans to detect rule-breaking. That also includes behavior such as promoting a post in keyword search rankings. “Rule violations will receive appropriate in-platform measures,” the representative told TechNode in a WeChat message.

A post on a Xiaohongshu official WeChat account and dated March 14 also stated that the company has been aiding “public safety organizations” in fighting illegal behavior. From January to March 2019, Xiaohongshu reportedly dealt with 1.2 million fraudulent posts and over one million rule-breaking accounts.

In January, RED launched a platform for brand-influencer partnerships, following the likes of content platforms such as Douyin. In September, in a bid to boost revenue, it also began preventing companies from inserting links to external e-commerce sites on its app.

According to a Beijing News report on Thursday, shops on Alibaba’s Taobao and its secondhand sister site Xianyu have largely stopped advertising such boosting services.

A search by TechNode today confirmed this: while advertisements for boosting users’ presence on Xiaohongshu remain, Taobao sellers specifically rule out services like “hyping blogger reputation,” or ask buyers to contact them directly for more details.

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Bailey Hu

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.

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