Discussion-centric platform Reddit has quarantined two Russia-focused communities – r/Russia (a community that focuses on “everything related to the country of Russia” and has over 266,000 members) and r/RussiaPolitics (a community that was created after Russia invaded Ukraine and focuses on “international politics from Russia Angle”) – and removed a moderator.
In a statement to Mashable, a Reddit spokesperson said: “We have quarantined r/Russia and r/RussiaPolitics and removed a moderator for acting in bad faith. We have connected directly with the remaining moderators to provide guidance and remind them of our policies. We will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps as needed.”
The quarantine label that appears every time a user attempts to access these communities or their posts also cites “a high volume of information not supported by credible sources.”
As a result of the quarantine, Reddit users that attempt to access these communities or their posts are presented with a full-page warning label that forces them to confirm that they want to continue.
A permanent warning about the communities being quarantined also appears in the sidebar.
In addition to these warning messages, the quarantine also limits the reach of posts from these communities on Reddit by preventing them from appearing in non-subscription-based feeds such as the Reddit Popular feed, Reddit search, and Reddit recommendations.
“Like seriously what's the point of internet if you can't see all points of view?” one member of r/Russia said. “I am old enough to make research and decide for myself, I don't need some nitwit to tell what is credible or what isn't.”
“Big Brother doesn't allow wrongthink,” another member said. “So much for freedom of expression.”
Reddit's quarantine follows Twitter censoring posts documenting Russia's Ukraine invasion last week. This censorship led to Twitter suspending the accounts of researchers before admitting it had censored “in error.”
In Russia, several tech companies have started restricting access to some or all of their products. Apple has pulled products, domain and hosting provider Namecheap plans to ban Russian citizens, and Visa and Mastercard have cut off several Russian banks from their network, leaving many Russians unable to use their bank cards.
The Russian government also restricted its citizens' access to Facebook and Twitter and the Russian search engine Yandex started adding “misinformation” labels to its results last week.