Advertisement

Article

Chinese company Tencent invests heavily in Reddit, causing censorship fears

Chinese company Tencent invests heavily in Reddit, causing censorship fears
Justin Cabrera

Justin Cabrera

  • Updated:

Chinese tech empire Tencent recently invested $150 million in American social forum Reddit. Fearing oncoming censorship, the website’s users flooded the front page with pictures of Tiananmen Square’s Tank Man and Winnie the Pooh.

tencent

Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh
Pooh is banned entirely in China after Chinese internet users jokingly said President Xi Jinping looked like him

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman has said that Tencent’s involvement in video games was what primarily brought the two companies together. Gaming is one of the most popular subject matters on Reddit, whose user base is primarily made up of tech-savvy men in their early 20s. Through its investments, Tencent is the largest video game company in the world, owning or partially owning the world’s most popular games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Fortnite: Battle Royale Download Fortnite: Battle Royale ►
10
League of Legends Download Free ►
8
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds Download Now ►
9

Reddit has a notoriously outspoken community that is largely supportive of free speech and open communication. Like most large social platforms, Reddit is banned in China. Over the summer, Reddit users protested the repeal of net neutrality in the biggest campaign the site had ever seen. Given China’s long history of censorship, both online and off, it should come at no surprise that the community is angered with such a large Chinese investment to the site. Tencent’s largest social media platform, the Chinese superapp WeChat, has been plagued by government-imposed censorship, leading to many unhappy users.

Reddit is far from the only western social media platform that has gotten a large investment from Tencent. Snapchat, Spotify, Discord, Tesla, Kik, and more have received large investments from Tencent, whose extremely diverse holdings rank the company as the fifth most powerful brand in the world. This fifth place position outranks Facebook and is only beaten by Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

In fairness, companies that Tencent have invested in have received little-to-no changes to their policies or structures. There is little chance that Tencent will be able to censor any platform that doesn’t fall directly under Chinese jurisdiction. With this in mind, it isn’t censorship that Reddit users should worry about, it’s data collection. Tencent makes billions of dollars from gathering user data across its hundreds of services, data that is sold to and profited from by the Chinese government. Having your data from nearly every major social media platform in the hands of the world’s most powerful oppressive government regime is certainly cause for concern. Don’t worry Redditors; you’ll be able to upload pictures of Tiananmen Square to the front page at your leisure. Just be careful about managing your personal information, as through Tencent’s growing tech empire there is a good chance it’ll land in the hands of the Chinese government.

Justin Cabrera

Justin Cabrera

Justin Cabrera is a tech content writer with Softonic.com. Prior to joining Softonic, Justin was a overcaffeinated radio DJ and know-it-all music critic with WPGU 107.1. His two favorite things in the world are video games and music culture.

Latest from Justin Cabrera

You may also like

  1. Elon Musk’s brain chips have ended the lives of a group of monkeys

    Elon Musk’s brain chips have ended the lives of a group of monkeys

    Read more
  2. Did Ubisoft just casually announce The Division 3? It seems so

    Did Ubisoft just casually announce The Division 3? It seems so

    Read more
  3. Formula 1 Grand Prix in Suzuka: schedule and races for Formula 1 in Japan

    Formula 1 Grand Prix in Suzuka: schedule and races for Formula 1 in Japan

    Read more
  4. Bombshell: The CMA has provisionally approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

    Bombshell: The CMA has provisionally approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

    Read more
  5. Spotify reportedly has a price for its HiFi tier: it would be more expensive than paying for Netflix in 4K

    Spotify reportedly has a price for its HiFi tier: it would be more expensive than paying for Netflix in 4K

    Read more