Reddit banned in Russia because of one thread

Reddit has been entirely banned in Reddit, after the government attempted to shut down one barely-read post about how to grow magic mushrooms.

Click to follow
The Independent Tech

Reddit has been entirely banned in Russia, after the government attempted to shut down one barely-read post about how to grow magic mushrooms.

The country’s internet watchdog Roskomnadzor said this week that if Reddit did not reply to emails requesting that it deleted the offending post, the site would be banned entirely in Russia. Now the government has told internet service providers to start entirely shutting off access to the site, which joins a long list of blocked pages in Russia.

The Russian government said that it had asked for the removal of the update — which was a thorough and long post in Russian titled “Minimum and reliable method of growing psilocybe”. But the site didn’t respond despite a blog post saying: "We assume that the website is simply understaffed during the summer holidays, but this is no excuse to risk [losing] its entire audience [in Russia]."

Reddit now joins a long list of sites that must be banned in the country, which includes the website of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and political opponents, as well as those posting extreme pornography and extremism. Activists have posted a full list of the sites online.

Redditor rsocfan posted on the forum to say that he was the one responsible for the site getting blocked.

“In Russia, there is a law which allow Roskomnadzor, Russian censorship agency, to block any website without court ruling,” he wrote “Two years ago I tested how RKN [Roskomnadzor] react to abuse on popular websites/crazy abuses. One of that websites was Reddit.

“BTW, this post is a guide for indoor growing Psilocybe mushrooms in Russian. I'm not sure if any people saw this before blocking, but if you are here and you can read Russian, now you know to grow some shrooms, thanks to RKN.”

The post was barely read for most of the two years that it sat on the site, receiving only one upvote and one comment. In another post, rsocfan pointed out that the message was getting far more attention after the block than it ever had before.

Because Reddit uses the extra-secure HTTPS protocol for sending its information to computers, it’s not possible for internet companies to block specific pages on the site. So the watchdog had no option but to leave the post up or block the page entirely.

The ban is being instituted by internet service providers on order of the government, rather than by the government itself. That means that many users can still get on the site — with some posting there to say that they could — but that access will be gradually cut off as the block comes into effect.

Reddit is also blocked in China, as part of the country's "Great Firewall".

Comments