A reported investment by Chinese tech giant Tencent in Reddit has sparked a backlash on the popular community news site over censorship fears.
Last week reports said that Tencent would be investing $150m (£115m) into the platform. China has a strict internet censorship regime known as the Great Firewall and Reddit is among the sites it blocks. The proposed funding prompted a wave of criticism on Reddit, which many of its users see as a bastion of free speech. Most analysts agree that it is unlikely Tencent or any other such investor would be able to control what content is posted on the site but that hasn't stopped a stream of memes and protest messages appearing in the past few days.
The Reddit platform allows users to share links on any conceivable subject, which are then up-or down-voted, meaning the most popular content surfaces to the top and is more prominent. The platform has 330 million active users and describes itself as the "Front Page of the Internet". Along with sites like Facebook and Twitter, Reddit is inaccessible in China as part of the country's Great Firewall. The government's internet censorship regime uses a series of technical measures to block foreign platforms and controversial content. China-based messaging services -including Tencent-owned WeChat - and social media are restricted, with key words and expressions blocked if they express dissent or ridicule senior political leaders. So the report prompted some concerns among the Reddit community that the site may even face content restrictions outside China in the future.