Popular Chinese social commerce platform Xiaohongshu is reported to have been removed from a range of Android app stores in the country, with fake reviews aimed at boosting product sales being a possible cause.

The shopping-review app – which means ‘little red book’ and is known just as RED overseas – can still be found on Apple’s App Store in China and Google’s Android Play Store outside China, but it not clear when the app will be made available again for downloads at the country’s leading Android app stores; current users are not affected.

Xiaohongshu said it is communicating with relevant departments to resolve its – unspecified – domestic problem. But its delisting exposes the platform’s vulnerability, due to its heavy reliance on user-generated content which makes up 70% of its posts.

Founded in 2013, the Instagram-Pinterest mashup amassed 200 million registered users within six years but has always battled quality and ethical issues, which have deterred some brands from using the platform, according to Jing Daily.

The title observed that, under pressure from investors, “the platform seems to be caught between trying to expand while trying to keep content quality high”.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently warned Xiaohongshu about soliciting consumers’ information without their consent. And there have also been issues with KOLs not labelling their sponsored posts clearly. (For more on influencer marketing, read WARC’s February issue of Admap: Influencers – beyond the hype).

Xiaohongshu’s own anti-fraud report released on July 17 revealed an average of 4,285 fake posts per day.

Sourced from Technode, Jing Daily; additional content by WARC staff