OCCASIONALLY ACCEPTING NATION STATE Russia has brought down an iron curtain between its citizens and topic-free-for-all information site Reddit because of talk about plants and fungi.
Reports have the government closing the door on Reddit because of a thread about the use and growth of Psilocybe, or magic mushrooms.
The shutdown was announced officially through the local social network VKontacte by the Roskomnadzor, Russia's media and telecoms agency.
There, in a statement that we have put through Google Translate, we learn that the Reddit shutdown comes after a request from the Federal Drug Control Service to remove articles relating to horticulture.
Local news source Meduza says that it is one page, called Minimal and Reliable Methods for Growing Psilocybe [Mushrooms], that kicked off the campaign, and that Russia took a door slam approach after local agents failed to get through to Reddit for a chat about the page, and then, presumably, another one about aliens, crisps and why we are all here anyway.
Meduza said that noises started on 10 August, and saw local censors suggesting that perhaps Redditors were on holiday. "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]," was the reported official statement.
Those local agents did not hang around to find out, and delivered on their thinly veiled promise on 12 August. This was very likely, as Russia does have a history of this kind of thing and has in the past debated blocking YouTube, Facebook, Google, Hotmail and Skype.
A large surge of activity in 2014 ramped up efforts against social sites because of internal Russian fears about surveillance and snooping. The proposed changes would see Facebook, Gmail and Skype being banned in Russia as part of "anti-terror" legislation.
Citizens, of course, are likely to find workarounds for ongoing access. µ
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