Briefing: Reddit users raise concerns over suspected ‘Chinabots’

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Reddit Has Become A Battleground Of Alleged Chinese Trolls – Buzzfeed News

What happened: Members of Reddit communities like /r/geopolitics and /r/onguardforthee are worried about what they perceive to be a coordinated effort by pro-China accounts to influence political discussion involving the country. While some accounts banned for China-related comments were found to have originated in the mainland, a Buzzfeed News analysis yielded no evidence of state sponsorship. Reddit, which recently shared its progress “detecting and mitigating content manipulation” on the site, also denied finding proof of coordinated activity.

Why it’s important: Since Tencent’s recent $150 million investment in the US social media platform, Reddit users have raised the specter of censorship despite Tencent having little control over decisions about how the site is run. And while Sinocism newsletter publisher Bill Bishop says there has been an “upsurge in [Chinese government accounts] taking the battle overseas to the global internet,” it’s hard to know what is actually coordinated. Regardless, as the tech rivalry between the US and China continues to escalate, it’s easy to see how Western internet users might project their Russian troll-fueled fears onto the PRC.