Reddit Begins Censoring Itself on a Per-Country Basis

On Thursday Reddit said that it will begin to censor posts, and even whole communities, based on takedown requests received from authorities.

Russia Bans Reddit. Sort of.

On August 13 news hit Reddit that Russia had banned its citizens from visiting the website. It wasn’t entirely surprising since the country had already announced that it planned to ban the site. Unfortunately for Redditors, the news released prematurely because only one URL was banned. For the curious, you can find that URL here.

The post that got Russia up in arms was posted on a subreddit called /r/rudrugs, which is a collection of threads relating to drugs in Russia. The post? It was about how to grow mushrooms–not exactly a hot issue given the surrounding circumstances.

Reddit Reaches Out

In light of Russia’s ban, Reddit has decided to take a proactive approach to the situation by censoring /r/rudurgs in Russia, and /r/WatchPeopleDie in Germany.

In an accompanying statement, Reddit says the decision was decided “in order to preserve the existence of Reddit in those regions.” While there has been no word on whether Germany has taken issue with Reddit communities, it seems likely that there was a growing dissonance between Germany and at least one community.

Reddit on Fire

Technically, Reddit doesn’t have any obligation to heed to take down requests since it’s an American company. However, the company doesn’t want to risk the entire site being banned country-wide, so it is willing to compromise with valid requests.

Meanwhile, many Redditors are upset at the news, especially considering the recent events surrounding the company’s former CEO, Ellen Pao. Reddit recently banned some of its more controversial subreddits which ignited a fuse that lead to Pao’s resignation.

These localised bans appear to be products of its new content guidelines. After Pao’s departure, the company said that it will “remove anything that incites harm or violence against an individual or group of people,” but content “that violates a common sense of decency” will remain on the site, but it will only be visible to registered users.

A Reddit spokesperson announced its decision to implement localised bands on /r/ChillingEffects, which can be read in full here.

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