China company's investment in Reddit sparks censorship worry

Reddit Raises $300 Million At $3 Billion Valuation, With Tencent Among Backers

Hong Kong-listed technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK:) is investing $150 million in US discussion platform Reddit, according to Techcrunch that cited multiple unnamed sources.

A Pooh picture, voted to near the top of the Reddit homepage, had the caption: "Since Reddit took a US$150 million investment from Chinese censorship company Tencent, please welcome our leader President Xi". Some are suggesting that Tencent's investment may see Reddit further censoring user content. "Tencent has invested in hundreds of companies and there's been little involvement or interest from China's state apparatus", said Reynolds via BBC.

Much of that criticism has come from Reddit users. 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. Chinese tech giant Tencent, the parent company of China's largest social network WeChat, is the lead investor, contributing half of the total financing.

"Given that reddit just took a $150 million investment from a Chinese censorship powerhouse, I thought it would be nice to post this picture of "Tank Man" at Tienanmen [sic] Square before our new glorious overlords decide we can not post it anymore", wrote user FreeSpeechWarrior.

The TechCrunch website reported the funding round last week, but that information was unconfirmed until now.

Reddit, which calls itself "the front page of the Internet", has estimated 330 million monthly users and was the third-most-visited website in the U.S.as of February 2018, according to Alexa Internet. Search terms such as "six four" - a reference to the date of the event 4 June and "never forget" when typed into Chinese search engines have not returned any results.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman told CNBC news outlet that Tencent invested 150 million dollars in the latest round of fundraising, along with other investors.

They include video of the Tiananmen Square protest and pictures comparing President Xi Jinping to the portly Winnie the Pooh.

For example, Reddit user ChristopherVDV posted an image of Winnie the Pooh criticizing the investment.

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