In an attempt to curb disinformation regarding the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and in showing solidarity with other big tech companies, Reddit has decided to “quarantine” (shadowban) r/Russia and r/RussiaPolitics subreddits, as first reported by Mashable.
According to the San Francisco-based discussion website, “the purpose of quarantining a community is to prevent its content from being accidentally viewed by those who do not knowingly wish to do so, or viewed without appropriate context.” Subreddits that are quarantined do not show up in search results or recommendations, and if you do get access to a shadowbanned subreddit through a direct link, you’ll be shown a warning that requires you to explicitly opt-in to viewing the content.
As of right now, visiting the quarantined subreddit shows a message, stating “This Community contains a high volume of information not supported by credible sources,” as seen in the screenshot below:
That said, I was able to find the subreddit with a simple Google search. This means that the shadowban won’t stop those who are specifically looking for the subreddit, but that it is as good as removed for those just scrolling through posts, discussions and going about their day.
According to Mashable, most of the posts on the subreddit, which describes itself as “Everything related to the country of Russia,” contained posts defending the invasion, and cherry-picking reasons to justify it, including discussions about Ukrainian soldiers being Nazis, the Ukrainian population spreading misinformation, using past war/training drill photos as current and other types false propaganda.
Other quarantined subreddits include ‘r/911truth,’ ‘r/VaxTalk,’ ‘/r/darkmemes’ and many more.
The move from Reddit arrives alongside other big tech companies issuing strict rules against Russia, with Facebook and Tik Tok taking down Russian state media in Europe, YouTube blocking Russia’s state-owned media outlet RT from earning ad revenue and Google restricting live traffic data in an effort to safeguard concentrated local population’s location.
Canadian providers, including Bell, Rogers, Telus, Shaw, Access Communications and VMedia have also removed RT from their respective channel lineups.