February 24, 2019

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Reddit: Censorship fears spark criticism of Tencent funding reports

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A reported funding by Chinese tech big Tencent in Reddit has sparked a backlash on the favored neighborhood information web site over censorship fears.

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

China has a strict web censorship regime referred to as the Great Firewall and Reddit is among the many websites it blocks.

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

Most analysts agree that it’s unlikely Tencent or another such investor would have the ability to management what content material is posted on the location however that hasn’t stopped a stream of memes and protest messages showing prior to now few days.

The Reddit platform permits customers to share hyperlinks on any conceivable topic, that are then up-or down-voted, which means the preferred content material surfaces to the highest and is extra distinguished.

The platform has 330 million energetic customers and describes itself because the “Front Page of the Internet”.

Along with websites like Facebook and Twitter, Reddit is inaccessible in China as half of the nation’s Great Firewall.

The authorities’s web censorship regime makes use of a sequence of technical measures to dam international platforms and controversial content material.

China-based messaging providers and social media are restricted, with key phrases and expressions blocked in the event that they categorical dissent or ridicule senior political leaders.

  • How Chinese authorities censor your ideas
  • Why you may discuss John Oliver in China

So the report prompted some considerations among the many Reddit neighborhood that the location might even face content material restrictions exterior China sooner or later.

Winnie the Pooh memes

In latest days Reddit customers shared pictures of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest and Winnie the Pooh in reference to considerations a tie-up with the Chinese agency would result in stricter content material controls.

In the previous, Chinese authorities have blocked info associated to the crackdown towards protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on the anniversary of the occasion. Search phrases corresponding to “six four” – a reference to the date of the occasion 4 June and “never forget” when typed into Chinese search engines like google haven’t returned any outcomes.

Winnie the Pooh has additionally been blocked at occasions on Chinese social media websites as bloggers examine the cartoon character to the nation’s President Xi Jinping.

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One in style submit by FreeSpeechWarrior that includes a picture of a person stopping tanks in Tiananmen Square was up-voted on the location greater than 200,000 occasions.

A separate submit from person BonZZil17 mentioned: “Thanks for the money Tencent, now here’s Tank man from the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989.”

Another, posted by ChristopherVDV, shared a picture of Winnie the Pooh citing Tencent’s funding had been up-voted greater than 37,000 occasions.

“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 submit learn.

Still, the extent of Tencent’s proposed funding falls far brief of full management.

A $150m funding represents a fraction of the location’s worth, which is regarded as value as a lot as $2.7bn.

Tencent, which additionally operates the Chinese social community WeChat, is one of China’s most profitable know-how firms.

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