Russia mulls blocking Reddit over pot-growing thread

© Robert Galbraith
Russia’s communications watchdog has warned that Reddit may be blocked by some Internet providers in the country over a thread about “growing drug-containing plants.”

The watchdog, Roskomnadzor, maintains a blacklist of web pages with information prohibited by law in Russia, including those describing ways to commit suicide or produce illegal substances. The information is deemed harmful for minors.

On Monday, the agency complained that Reddit was stonewalling requests to block a thread about “growing drug-containing plants.” This may prompt Roskomnadzor to put the page on the blacklist, it warned, adding that previously the social network replied to notifications with similar demands “in full.”

“It is conceivable that somebody became relaxed due to the August vacation season, but it’s not a good reason to risk one’s readers,” the watchdog said in a statement published on a Russian social network.

It added that some Russian internet providers may have to block all of Reddit rather than the specific thread “for specific technical” reasons.

“If anyone is in contact with the administration, ask them to check email for our message,” Roskomnadzor said.

Reddit is a social network for sharing, voting on and discussing images and links to other webpages. Over a decade of its existence it has reached a monthly audience of over 55 million views, becoming one of the primary distributors of content online.

On various occasions Roskomnadzor has ordered the blocking of videos on YouTube, Facebook pages, Twitter messages, forum threads of the gaming service Steam, pages of the web cache service Internet Archive and other proxy servers used by the online anonymization service Tor.