Redditors start flinging Pooh after mega-forum takes cash from Chinese behemoth Tencent
Oh, bother! Users can't bear the thought of censorship
Condé-Nast-stablemate forum Reddit has slurped another $300m in a round of funding led by Chinese giant Tencent.
The splurge means that the San Francisco-based website has now raised over $550m over four rounds of funding since it was founded in 2005. The platform for often-heated discussion must now deal with the needs of WeChat-owning Tencent.
Reddit is inaccessible in China, despite modestly describing itself as the "Front Page of the Internet". It also lays claim to 330 million active users, although here at El Reg we are of the belief that it's more about quality rather than quantity when it comes to forum contributors.
The announcement yesterday stoked fears among members that the arrival of the Chinese giant would herald censorship on the platform. Such a move is unlikely since, even if possible, doing so would trigger an exodus of users into the welcoming arms of the competition.
That isn't to say that Redditors didn't get a bit hot under the collar, cooling themselves off by posting images of the popular children's character Winnie-the-Pooh over and over again. The image has attracted the ire of Chinese censors in the past due to some wags alleging a resemblance to the country's President, Xi Jinping.
Indeed, the last film featuring the silly old bear was even banned in the Middle Kingdom for that reason.
The nature of Reddit means that popular posts float to the top of the site as members "upvote" them. While user LemonberryTea has seen more than 40,000 votes for their image of the beloved A A Milne character in the days since rumours first began swirling, the famous image of the protester standing in front of tanks at Tiananmen Square back in 1989 sits at the top of the most popular postings for the week with more than 200,000 votes at time of writing.
The drama of it all is undermined somewhat by the rest of the popular posts, consisting mainly of pictures of dogs, ducks and an owl with a stick.
Pre-investment, analysts placed a $2.7bn valuation on the site, making Tencent's supposed $150m contribution nowhere near enough to push through the types of changes that have Redditors' knickers so twisty. Tencent has also been flinging cash elsewhere in recent months, being part of a $150m funding round back in December 2018 that put a value on gaming chat platform Discord of more than $2bn. ®