Reddit is back online in Russia, on the condition that Reddit remove one page permanently, at least for Russian Redditors.
The page, titled Minimal and Reliable Methods for Growing Psilocybe, a kind of psychedelic mushroom, continues to be prohibited in Russia. However, the rest of Reddit is now available again after Roskomnador, the Russian counterpart of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), banned the entire website.
Apparently, Russia was not planning on blocking Reddit altogether. In a statement posted on Vkontakte, a popular Russian social network, Roskomnador said it was trying to contact Reddit's administrators to ask that the page be removed from the Russian website but to no avail. The Russian Federal Drug Control Service deems the page harmful because it promotes the use of drugs.
"Those who have contacts with the [Reddit] administration - ask them to check their email for messages from Roskomnador," the Russian agency said. "Otherwise... a number of operators may block the entire site."
It appears Reddit's administrators did not check their email, or they might have initially decided that blocking the page would be an infringement of free speech because following the post, Reddit users in Russia have started reporting that they were unable to access the website.
However, much of Reddit went back up just a few hours later, minus the offending post. Roskomnador confirmed Reddit administrators have finally gotten in touch, with the promise to ban the page in Russia, a move that has sparked another branch in the network of fiery debates about cleaning up Reddit's heap of offensive content and upholding the website as a bastion of free speech.
"Will I remove this post? No," says Reddit user rsocfan, who posted the page. "I also think that Reddit administration needs to do nothing. This is [an] important issue on freedom of speech, and only RKN want[s] to violate it."
For its part, Reddit says it will comply with requests to remove certain content 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," a Reddit spokesperson tells TechCrunch.