Tencent investment in Reddit sparks censorship worry in some users

Screen capture from Reddit

Screen capture from Reddit

Reddit has confirmed that it has raised $150 million from Tencent and $150 million in Series D funding at a $2.7 billion pre-money valuation and a $3 billion post-money valuation, according to TechCrunch.

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

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.

Reddit said it plans to use the capital to expand internationally and grow its ad business, targeting the market dominated by Facebook and Google.

News of Tencent buying into the popular social news website, which is banned in China, prompted concerns by some users that the platform could be vulnerable to the kind of online censorship that takes place in that country.

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

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

Founded in 2005 by University of Virginia students Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, Reddit likes to think it's the "front page of the internet".

Reddit is now unavailable in China, as are some of Tencent's other Western media investments: The company's investment arm holds a significant stake in Snapchat's corporate parent Snap, and owns around 40% of Epic Games.

Reddit is now hitting 330 million users per month across a wide range of content including politics, entertainment, technology, sports and controversial posts involving conspiracy theories and adult content. Users can vote for content using the thumbs up or thumbs down buttons.

Reddit is also known for "ask me anything" sessions with well-known people such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former U.S. president Barack Obama.

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