Reddit has had a pretty freaky week, first being threatened to be banned in Russia, then actually being banned, then quickly and mysteriously unbanned.
After the dust settled down, the company decided to speak out on what has happened. But let's take it from the top:
First, Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor posted on Vkontakte, Russia's Facebook, saying it will ban Reddit in the country because it promotes growing weed.
"Those who have contacts with the [Reddit] administration – ask them to check their email for messages from Roskomnadzor, otherwise… a number of operators may block the entire site,” Roskomnadzor said.
It was later uncovered that it’s not weed that was the problem here – it was a thread about growing psychedelic mushrooms. Reddit failed to respond to Roskomnadzor’s request, and the site was soon banned.
Yet, within hours the site was mysteriously unbanned.
Here’s what the Russian watchdog had to say:
“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.”
Soon after, TechCrunch managed to get a hold of a Reddit spokesperson:
“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. “