Reddit unbanned in Russia after it blocks page on orders of government

Russians can finally get back on Reddit — after the whole site was banned in the country because of a mostly-unread thread about magic mushrooms.

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The Independent Tech

Russians can finally get back on Reddit — after the whole site was banned in the country because of a mostly-unread thread about magic mushrooms.

The site was blocked entirely in the country this week because Reddit had not checked its emails about removing the offending thread, according to the Russian internet watchdog. But Reddit has now removed it, and access to the forum is slowly being turned back on.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian internet watchdog, said that it had finally received a message from the administrators telling them that the post — an in-depth but little read guide on growing magic mushrooms — had been blocked.

“On August 13, federal officials received on their ‘hot line’ a message from the site’s administrators saying Internet users in Russia no longer have access to the illegal content,” the watchdog posted on Vkontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook. “Roskomnadzor has confirmed [Reddit’s] full compliance, and accordingly removed the website from the registry of illegal online materials.”

Many Reddit users took the issue of whether to take the post down or not as a question of free speech. That has been a particularly charged argument in recent weeks — as the site’s administrators had at first said that it had to leave up offensive and racist threads to protect free speech, and then reversed its position and took them down.

The watchdog suggested that Reddit might be too busy to take down the post, or that it was overwhelmed because of the summer holidays. But the site has now responded, shutting down the post for Russians and giving a statement suggesting that it would do the same in the future.

 

“Reddit is a US company that operates a website with millions of users, posts, and comments,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We regularly receive government requests around the world to remove content from Reddit and closely review these requests considering applicable local laws.

“We want to ensure our services are available to users everywhere but if we receive a valid request from an authorized entity, we reserve the right to restrict content in a particular country.”

The post is still available to those outside of Russia. But it seems to have been blocked for Russian users.

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