If you spend any time on Reddit, you’ve likely seen the Russia drama unfold. Though the entire thing has been confusing, the timeline goes something like this: a Redditor published a post on growing drugs in Russian, and Russia didn’t like that. Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media watchdog, made a post on a Russian social network (more or less) asking that someone with contacts “with the Reddit administration” ask them to “check their email for messages” the agency has sent. If Reddit didn’t respond, Roskomnadzor said it may end up having local ISPs block access to the website.
Reddit apparently doesn’t check its email too often, or maybe was pre-occupied trying to find a translator. Regardless, the website took too long and as a result many users in Russia started reporting that they could no longer access the website. The block didn’t seem to cover all Internet users in the nation, but instead ones getting service through select ISPs.
As all of that drama was unfolding, however, the ban disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared, and the users came back reporting they could properly access Reddit again. Speaking of the sudden un-banning, Roskomnadzor published another statement reading that:
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. Roskomnadzor has confirmed [Reddit’s] full compliance, and accordingly removed the website from the registry of illegal online materials.
Some users have criticized Reddit for pandering to Russia’s censorship efforts, but given some of its other recent activities, it’s not surprising the company isn’t terribly concerned about battling it out for uncensored discussions.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Reddit said:
Reddit is a US company that operates a website with millions of users, posts, and comments. 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.
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