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Russia and Reddit Duke It Out Over Cannabis and Mushroom Threads

Maureen Meehan

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A feud erupted after Russia’s media-regulating agency asked Reddit to remove drug-related content from its threads. According to Vocativ, Reddit’s administration did not respond, so Russia proceeded to ban the country’s most popular social media outlet.

Russia’s Internet watchdog, Roskomnadzor, reportedly took issue with a thread “on the cultivation of growing narcotic plants.” Drawing up a wanted poster of Reddit’s alien mascot, Roskomnadzor also scolded Reddit for not responding to their emails and calls—and for being “too relaxed during the August holidays,” according to the Guardian.

However, on Thursday, Russia unblocked Reddit and thanked Russian Internet users for “prompting” Reddit’s administrators to answer their emails. Reddit finally got in touch and, so far, patched things up with the Kremlin.

According to Meduza, Reddit promised Roskomnadzor that Russian users will no longer have access to illegal content and that administrators will “respond more promptly to future requests to take down or block access to content they deem illegal.”

This may cause a quandary at Reddit, which recently changed their rules to allow the discussion of illegal activities. In a thread called, “Let’s talk content,” Reddit stated that “anything illegal…things that are actually illegal, such as copyrighted material” will be removed, but “discussing illegal activities, such as drug use, is not illegal” and will be allowed to remain.

Nevertheless, what the Kremlin wants, the Kremlin gets. In 2013, Roskomnadzor blocked Wikipedia after it published pot-related content. Unsurprisingly, all Kremlin opposition sites are also blocked.

Russia’s attitude toward marijuana is known. According to The Washington Times, when pot was legalized in Washington D.C., the Russian Health Ministry predicted that “everyone will become a drug addict.”

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