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China’s Tencent Invests in Reddit, Sparking Free Speech Protests

By Bloomberg 11 February 2019
Caption
(FILE) - Steve Huffman CEO of Reddit speaks on the third day of the 7th Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, 08 November 2017 (reissued 02 August 2018). Social media site Reddit was breached in June after multiple staff accounts were comprimised and used to gain access to databases. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL A. LOPES

Reddit Inc. said Monday that it raised $300 million from investors. It was one backer, in particular, that drew condemnation from members of Reddit’s online community.

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. was among the investors in the round, which values the link-sharing website at $3 billion. A report last week by technology website TechCrunch signaled Tencent’s interest.

In the following days, users posted links to Reddit depicting imagery banned by Chinese censors. They include video of the Tiananmen Square protest and pictures comparing President Xi Jinping to the portly Winnie the Pooh. Reddit users swarmed several of the submissions, pushing them to the list of most popular posts.

Steve Huffman, the chief executive officer of Reddit, said Tencent’s expertise in video games is part of what drew the two companies together. “Video games are one category that’s really popular on Reddit,” Huffman told CNBC.

Spokeswomen for Reddit and Tencent declined to comment on the outcry from users. Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity Investments and Sequoia Capital were among the other investors in the round.

Reddit has an outspoken community that has used the company’s own website to protest against its actions in the past. The site has long been banned in China, according to researcher GreatFire.org. The free speech campaign by Reddit users may ensure that remains the case for some time. DM

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Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?

Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.

Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.

*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.


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