Tencent investment in Reddit sparks censorship worry in some users

Screen capture from Reddit

Screen capture from Reddit

While Reddit is not now available in China, Tencent will have noticed the emergence of Bytedance - the company behind news aggregator Toutiao and short video platform Tik Tok - as a new rival on China's tech scene.

Ironically, Reddit has been blocked in China since August (as is Google and Facebook, part of the country's "Great Firewall" of censorship).

Reddit has more than 330 million average monthly active users, with 14 billion screenviews per month, as of November 12, 2017, it said on its website.

It is ranked among the most visited US Web sites, and has more than 138,000 "communities" for discussions on various topics. More popular content is surfaced to the top.

The funding comes from what is called a "series D funding round" and sees China's Tencent adding a considerable amount of fortune to the $300 million, infact the Chinese conglomerate threw in $150 million. Huffman said that Reddit was also trying to become "a friendly home for users and brands alike", which involved stepping up its fight against abuse on its platform.

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In recent days Reddit users shared images of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest and Winnie the Pooh in reference to concerns a tie-up with the Chinese firm would lead to stricter content controls.

Images of the storybook bear were reportedly banned online in China after bloggers used them to represent Xi in posts.

Spokeswomen for Reddit and Tencent declined to comment on the outcry from users.

REDDIT confirmed yesterday a new funding round that included a US$150 million (RM611 million) investment by Chinese technology behemoth Tencent, prompting concerns that "the front page of the internet" might wind up censored.

Tencent owns the all-in-one messaging app WeChat and is considered as one of the biggest gaming company in the world thanks to the ownership of the popular "League of Legends".

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