Reddit has obtained a $150 million funding from Tencent, the Chinese language tech big behind WeChat and League of Legends, sparking fears of censorship from Reddit customers. The funding was first rumored final week, and led to Reddit customers posting images and memes banned in China in protest of Tencent’s involvement.
The protests have centered round two pictures particularly: Winnie the Pooh, whose likeness is basically banned as a result of customers have mocked its resemblance to President Xi Jinping, and pictures of the enduring Tank Man from the Tiananmen Sq. bloodbath. Each are censored in China due to state guidelines aimed toward maintaining web customers from opposing the federal government. One Reddit consumer quipped, “I assumed it might be good to put up this image of “Tank Man” at Tienanmen Sq. earlier than our new superb overlords resolve we can’t put up it anymore.”
Reddit confirmed the funding to The Verge, however declined additional remark.
Whereas China has censored content material exterior of its borders earlier than, it’s normally with Chinese language native apps which can be tied to mainland accounts. WeChat customers in America can nonetheless be censored if their accounts are linked to mainland IDs. Customers of Douyin, the Chinese language model of TikTok, who log onto their Chinese language accounts from exterior the nation, have seen their posts taken down. In a single occasion, a brief video of a foreigner studying from Mao Zedong’s Little Crimson Ebook was instantly rejected from the platform.
However to this point, different US corporations with Chinese language funding haven’t been topic to the nation’s censorship. Spotify, Epic Video games, and Snap have all obtained investments from Tencent, and none have seen the censorship that Reddit customers worry.
In the meantime, China continues to outright block US-based providers it needs to censor, akin to Twitch, Google, and Fb. Reddit has been blocked in China since August.
Tencent joins the ranks of older Reddit traders like Snoop Dogg and Sequoia in serving to the corporate reel in $300 million in extra funding, Reddit confirmed at the moment.