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Russia Moves to Block Reddit, Because Weed

The russian internet regulator wants to ban Reddit because of a thread on growing marijuana.
August 12, 2015, 4:05pm
Image: Gil C/Shutterstock

The Russian government is threatening to ban Reddit—apparently because of a post about growing weed.

On Wednesday, the Russian internet regulator, the Roskomnadzor, announced that it was going to ban Reddit with a short post on its official page on the Russian social media network VKontakt (VK) and a tweet. The social media posts were accompanied with an image of a Reddit logo stamped with the word "banned."

Russia is known to have a heavy hand when it comes to censorship, and any excuse, be it curse words or memes, can be enough to exert control over the internet or media. This time around, the excuse might be drugs—marijuana in particular—and the victim, the whole Reddit website.

Страница сайта Reddit отправлена на блокировку операторам связи РоскомнадзорAugust 12, 2015

The Roskomnadzor explained the reasons behind the potential ban in another VK post on Monday, writing that it had recently requested Reddit to take down a thread on growing narcotic plants. Reddit, however, had not responded to the government's request.

"We assume that during the August holidays someone is too relaxed," but that's no "excuse" to ignore its demands, the government agency wrote (translated with Google Translate).

"We assume that during the August holidays someone is too relaxed."

The agency, which even included a picture of a "Wanted" poster with the Reddit logo on it, concluded that if the thread weren't removed soon, it would proceed to ban the whole site. It's unclear if the ban is effective already, but any ban of this type would need to be carried out by internet service providers, and might take some time to be effectively implemented.

It's worth noting that thanks to Reddit's recent switch to HTTPS web encryption by default, it's not technically impossible for a government to block access to a particular thread or subreddit within the site.

Reddit did not respond to Motherboard's request for comment, and the Roskomnadzor did not answer a phone call.