Russia Repeals Nationwide Ban on Reddit

Russia has repealed its ban on the social news site Reddit on Thursday, just a day after imposing a nationwide block stopping people from accessing the site. Roskomnadzor, Russia's media watchdog, initially imposed the block after the website failed to respond to requests to remove a post discussinghow to grow magic mushrooms.

According to the Independent newspaper, Roskomnadzor ordered all Russian Internet providers to begin shutting off access to Reddit, which boasts over 165 million monthly visitors, although the BBC reported that only some parts of the site would be blocked.

According to Russian-language newspaper Meduza, the initial ban on Wednesday was prompted by the Russia's Federal Drug Control Service, who said that the Reddit's content promoted open discussions about drug production and use. The offending post was titled: "Minimal and Reliable Methods for Growing Psilocybe", although Roskomnadzor had also threatened to block the site due to a discussion between users about how to grow marijuana. A message posted by the watchdog on one of Russia's biggest social network sites on Wednesday included a 'wanted' sign featuring Reddit's small alien mascot.

On a post published on Roskomnadzor's own website, it explained that it had contacted Reddit several times to inform it of their intentions to implement the ban but had not had any reply. "We assume that the website is simply understaffed during the summer holidays, but this is no excuse to risk [losing] its entire audience [in Russia]," the statement read.

However, on Thursday Roskomnadzor confirmed that Reddit had removed the offending discussion threads and that the site was once again accessible to Russian internet users.

Reddit is just one of many websites that the Russian media watchdog has blocked or threatened to ban in recent months. Google, Facebook and Twitter all reportedly received stern letters of warning from Roskomnadzor earlier this year, threatening to shut them down if they failed to hand over the names and details of certain bloggers using their sites, under Russia's 2014 'blogger law'. They were also ordered to remove content "recognized as extremist information."

The law specifies that bloggers who receive over 3,000 visitors a day to their sites must register with Roskomnadzor and follow the rules that apply to other larger media sites, including disclosing their personal information and being held responsible for any misinformation published on their sites, even if it is in the comment section and thus not written by the bloggers themselves.

Russia Repeals Nationwide Ban on Reddit | Politics