Russia May Block Reddit Over Cannabis Thread

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The whole of Reddit may be blocked in Russia due to a thread in which members discuss how best to grow cannabis.

A huge number of sites are already blocked in Russia, such as that of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church and internet archive the Internet Wayback machine, and Reddit may be next. YouTube has also been subject to threats, writes Andrew Griffin for The Independent.

Russian Internet crackdown continues with Reddit

Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor has now announced that one offending thread may cause the whole of Reddit to be shut down. The state body made an announcement in a post on VKontakte, the largest social network in Russia, that it had asked Reddit to remove the offending thread but no response had been received.

Now it has threatened that Reddit will be blocked if Roskomnadzor does not receive a response.

“Those who have contacts with the administration ask them to check their email for letters from Roskommandzor, otherwise, due to technological features, many operators may block the whole site,” read the post, as reported by the International Business Times.

Alongside the message, Roskomnadzor posted a “Wanted” poster like those seen in Wild West movies, only this time featuring the Reddit alien. According to Reddit’s terms of use, content that infringes copyright will be removed, but discussion of illegal activities, including the use of drugs, is permitted.

Censorship and surveillance common in Russia

Roskomnadzor has already blocked Wikipedia for similar reasons, and officials cited its “Cannabis Smoking” page as justification for the ban. Other banned sites include those of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and chess player Garry Kasparov, who has also been involved in anti-Kremlin protests.

Authorities in Russia maintain strict control of the information that is visible to citizens, and even employs an army of online trolls in an attempt to influence discourse on world events. Public opinion in Russia appears to remain firmly behind President Vladimir Putin, whose approval ratings of around 90% are incredibly high for a leader overseeing a period of economic decline.

Should the economic struggles continue, those ratings may well go down, but so far Putin has managed to successfully portray himself as the only person who can save Russia in the face of aggression from the West.

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