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Reddit: Censorship fears spark criticism of Tencent funding reports



 Reddit logo on a smartphone Image copyright </span><br />
                 <span class= Getty Images

A reported investment by Chinese tech giant Tencent in Reddit has sparked a backlash on the popular community news site about censorship fears.

Last week reports that Tencent would be investing $ 150m (£ 115m) into the platform.

China has a strict internet censorship regime known as the Great Firewall and Reddit is among the sites it blocks.

The proposed funding prompted by a wave of criticism on Reddit, which many of its users see as a bastion of free speech.

Most analysts agree that it is uniquely Tencent or any other such investor would be able to control what content is posted on the site but that hasn't stopped streaming memes and protest messages appearing in the past few days.

The reddit platform allows users to share links on any conceivable subject, which are then up-or down-voted , meaning the most popular content, and is more prominent.

The platform has 330 million active users and describes itself as the "Front Page of the Internet".

Along with sites like Facebook and Twitter, Reddit is inaccessible in China as part of the country's Great Firewall.

The government's internet censorship regime uses a series of technical measures to block foreign platforms and controversial content.

China-based messaging services and social media are restricted, with key words and expressions blocked if they express dissent or ridicule senior political leaders

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  • So the report prompted some concerns among the

    Winnie the Pooh memes

    A recent days Reddit users shared images of the 1

    989 Tiananmen Square protest and Winnie the Pooh in reference to groups of companies. up with the Chinese firm would lead to stricter content controls.

    In the past, Chinese authorities have blocked information related to the crackdown against protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on the anniversary of the event. Search terms such as "six four" – a reference to the date of the event 4 June and "never forget" when typed in Chinese search engines have not returned any results.

    Winnie the Pooh has also been blocked at times on Chinese social media sites like bloggers compare the cartoon character to the country's president Xi Jinping.

    Image copyright
    Reddit

    One popular post by FreeSpeechWarrior featuring an image of a man stopping tanks in Tiananmen Square was voted on the site more than 200,000 times.

    A separate post from user BonZZil17 said: "Thanks for the money Tencent, now here's the tank man from the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989."

    Another, posted by ChristopherVDV, shared an image of Winnie the Pooh citing Tencent's investment had been up-voted more than 37,000 times.

    "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 Winnie-The-Pooh before our new glorious overlords decide we cannot post it anymore," the post read.

    Still, the level of Tencent's proposed funding falls far short of full control.

    A $ 150m investment represents a fraction of the site's value, which is thought to be over $ 2.7bn.

    Tencent, which also operates the Chinese social network WeChat, is one of China's most successful technology companies.


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