Tencent investment in Reddit causes uproar


Sean Lee, Staff Writer

On February 11, the Chinese company Tencent confirmed an investment of $150 million in Reddit, the “Front Page of the Internet”. Tencent is a holding company that mainly focuses on technology. The two most well-known companies they hold are Riot Games (creators of the popular multiplayer game League of Legends) and WeChat. Reddit confirmed that a funding round led by Tencent would produce over $300 million, adding to the website’s total market value of $3 billion.

Why is there backlash?

The Chinese investment in Reddit sparked concerns of website censorship as Tencent has been known to censor WeChat users for what they deem inappropriate. Such inappropriate content includes references to the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 or images that compare the Chinese president to Winnie the Pooh. Reddit users were quick to respond to the investment by posting a plethora of pictures and memes that the Chinese government has outlawed. Such images include the famous photograph of “Tank Man” at Tiananmen Square and pictures of everyone’s favorite honey-loving bear.

What does this mean for Reddit users?

The $150 million investment and $300 million funding round do not give Tencent a meaningful share in the company. The fears of Tencent forcing Reddit to censor content that the Chinese government deems inappropriate is reasonable as Tencent has banned such images from their WeChat platform. For most Reddit users, only time will tell if there are major changes to how the website serves ads to its over 300 million concurrent users.

Works Cited

  1. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/tencent-investment-reddit-sparks-censorship-worry-023911881.html
  2. https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/11/18216134/reddit-tencent-investment-deal-memes-amount-winnie-the-pooh-tank-man-china
  3. http://time.com/5526128/china-reddit-tencent-censorship/