Xiaohongshu’s “Brand Violation Points” rule takes effect, clamping down on illegal marketing

A new management rule known as “Brand Violations Points” introduced by Xiaohongshu (the biggest lifestyle-sharing platform in China) came into effect on 20 April. Under the points-based system, each brand account is given 10 points to start. Those who are later found to have published “unauthorised commercial promotion” will face deductions of 2 points for each offence, with an accumulated penalty for consecutive violations.

These point deductions will result in punishments ranging from a warning to account suspension for up to 28 days, affecting the search appearance of the concerned accounts, as well as public and recommendation traffic to the brands’ content, as per Xiaohongshu’s community guidelines.

Moreover, the platform has reiterated its requirement of submitting ‘to-be-promoted’ content for review before publication. As a result, more commercial notes have been barred from going public, according to an e-commerce advertiser who has been a frequent marketer on Xiaohongshu, “Also, we see [reviewed] content be altered too, with the brand name being excluded and the mechanism shifting to a ‘comment-led’ format,” he added.   

In addition, only products with legitimate third-party quality reports will be allowed to be promoted on the platform, especially those falling into the categories of baby care, skincare, and cosmetics, for which Xiaohongshu is regarded as a breeding ground. Such toughened regulations, therefore, naturally challenge the ability of relevant marketers to leverage one of the most popular hubs for China’s savvy young consumers.

While some are concerned that the content review procedure will make overall marketing efforts less effective, an insider of the e-commerce industry argued that such practice will have little impact on the delivery and outcome of online promotion and believes that brands can benefit from an approved post thanks to the authenticity that the platform’s green light gives. Although it is agreed that the drawback of the review process is an increased marketing cost.  

In fact, Xiaohongshu has been doubling down its efforts in cracking down on illegal marketing behaviours in the hope to restore its reputation following several false marketing scandals, which saw Xiaohongshu in the hot seat after illegal aesthetic medical services and unregulated medicines were found to be promoted on the platform. In the wake of these woes, Xiaohongshu launched a special task force last December, which saw 81 brands closed for illegal marketing, including Dove under Unilever and Neutrogena of Johnson & Johnson.


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