IF THERE'S ONE THING to alarm Reddit loyalists, it's the idea of incoming censorship. Even introducing the controversial idea that obese people shouldn't be the subject of focused hatred proved to be a stretch too far for the most dogmatic of its members. So it should come as no surprise that the announcement of Chinese investment money hasn't been entirely welcomed by the site's membership.
Chinese tech giant Tencent is reported to have put $150 million into the site, and given the state of the internet in China, where access is censored and certain sites are inaccessible altogether, Redditors are nervous.
Indeed, Reddit is one of the sites that's completely blocked in China, which should lead to some frustrating PowerPoint presentations back in the Tencent offices as the board tries to show off its new investment.
As a result, Reddit has been filled with not-so-subtle critiques of the investment, with both the famous Tiananmen Square Tank Man image and Winnie the Pooh - banned in China for looking a bit like President Xi Jinping - enjoying a flurry of upvotes whenever they appear.
Cheering as this kind of middle finger to the man is, even a cursory glance at the facts suggests that this is the king of all overreactions. Tencent's investment is rumoured to be around $150m. Reddit as a whole is estimated to be worth $2.7bn today. In other words, Tencent's stake will be worth around 5.5 per cent of the company. Bluntly, that's barely enough sway to vote on office coffee suppliers, let alone to lobby for government-friendly blocks.
If Tencent owned the majority of Reddit, then there might be cause for some concern. As it is, this is something that the site's predominantly American userbase should be far more comfortable with: a company from a nominally communist company just wants to make some more money, and isn't particularly fussed either way about Reddit's core values. µ
But it keeps the juicy details firmly under wraps
And Sonny and Cher is on the radio
Gets its post-Windows 7 towel on the sun-lounger