Online community Reddit in Russia is back shortly after it was banned for failing to timely respond to Russia’s Federal Communications Commissioner Roskomnadzor’s order of removing the thread on how to grow psychedelic mushrooms.
On August 10, Roskomnadzor posted on Vkontakte, a site that works similarly like Facebook, urging Russians who have contacts with Reddit moderators or admin to check their emails from him, lest the entire site may be blocked.
Two days passed and no action or response came from Reddit, prompting FCC to include Reddit in its blacklist. Meanwhile, the Federal Drug Control Service issued an order blocking the page after it learned the thread’s content promotes illegal drugs. Redditors in Russia were unable to access the site, depending on their ISP.
A curtailment of freedom of speech?
But as soon as Reddit was banned, it was unbanned. Redditors began questioning Reddit’s policy on giving in to something that would actually curtail their freedom of speech.
In a post last month on content policy update, Chief Executive Officer Steve Huffman said, “Neither Alexis nor I created Reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen: These are very complicated issues and we are putting a lot of thought into it.”
Complementing Huffman’s statement is Roskomnadzor’s recent post about the unbanning of Reddit and hinting that the site gave in to Russia’s demand.
Few hours ago, Reddit responded to the ban, citing as reason the preservation of the site’s existence in other regions, referring to Russia and Germany. It also said Reddit wants to make its services available to users everywhere and the request to remove the thread was valid because it came from an authorized entity.
Steve Huffman replaced Ellen Pao, after the latter succumbed to online pressure from Redditors who thought it was then-CEO Pao who terminated Victoria Taylor. Days before her resignation as the CEO, moderators shut down hundreds of subreddits or communities and issued a statement that the issue goes beyond Reddit. Since Huffman’s reinstatement, he has implemented a new content policy, which authorized Reddit to ban and quarantine communities.