Recently, some users of China’s social media platform Douban said that the app embeds imperceptible watermarks in its pages. When users take screenshots, the page will automatically add watermarks including users’ UID and TID, complete time with time zone, which can only be seen in night mode.
On February 21st, Douban responded to ifeng, saying that this function is a new “anti-reuploading function of group content”, which the group leader can choose to turn on or off. As such, information such as user IDs will be encrypted before displaying.
After this function is turned on, when a user takes a screenshot of group content, the encrypted information of “the user’s ID, screenshot’s ID, and time,” will be automatically added to the screenshot. At present, more than 300 groups have turned on this function. Douban has since modified the watermark so that it will no longer display the user’s ID.
Douban was founded in March 2005. The website started with films, books and music, and provides information about those works, though descriptions and comments are made by users. The website also provides a variety of services, such as the recommendation of films, books and music, offline activities in the same city, group topic discussion and so on. Last December, Douban was removed from app stores by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology for unlawfully collecting personal information. At present, the app is still not available.