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Censorship? Chinese Company Drops Big $$$ into Reddit

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Censorship? Chinese Company Drops Big $$$ into Reddit

Old 02-11-2019, 12:38 PM
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Default Censorship? Chinese Company Drops Big $$$ into Reddit


Censorship? Chinese Company Drops Big $$$ into Reddit

Is Chinese style tech censorship coming to Reddit?

Chinese tech giant, Tencent, is expected to provide $150 million to Reddit in its next round of investments. TechCrunch reports that Reddit will be receiving a hefty total of $300 million in funding.

Tencent is the first Asian tech company to surpass the $500 billion market value.

What appears like business as usual, this move by Tencent may have strong free speech implications. China is notorious for its sophisticated censorship regime, the Great Firewall of China. Ironically, Reddit is blocked under the Great Firewall of China. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

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Tencent is no casual participant on Chinaís internet. Itís actually one of the chief actors behind Chinaís internet censorship campaign. The Great Firewall was not exclusively a creation of the Chinese State. It takes two to tango in order to make Chinaís censorship program function.

Adrian Shabaz, the Research Director for Technology and Democracy at Freedom House clears up some misconceptions about the Great Firewall:

We tend to think of Great Firewall as this huge thing the state has built. In reality, itís the companies in charge of weeding out unfavorable information online. Thereís a whole host of regulations, one new law passed on average every two days, about what content can and cannot appear online. Then it falls to Chinese companies to comply with this widespread censorship regime set by the communist party itself.
Reddit is a platform that claims to be a champion of free speech. Unfortunately, Reddit has taken numerous actions in the past that have put its mission into question. In 2016, Breitbart showcased several instances that Reddit censored Conservative content.

Tencentís recent move to buy a significant stake in Reddit should raise even more concerns among those on the Right side of the political spectrum. A potential partnership with a company that is connected to one of the most robust censorship apparatuses in the world would only strengthen Redditís censorship campaigns.

This certainly does not bode well for free speech on social media, which is already being curtailed by Big Tech giants. Adding Chinese style censorship into the mix could prove disastrous for Internet freedoms.

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