Russian news agency Interfax reported last Wednesday (July 12) that Reddit will be fined over its refusal to remove content banned by the Kremlin, Reuters reports.
The fine is speculated to be around $43,895 (4m roubles).
Citing Moscow courts, Interfax is reported to have said that the Reddit content in question relates to the Soviet Union’s activity in World War Two and “extremist” content that invalidates the actions of Russia’s army.
Reddit is not the only social media platform facing Russian scrutiny since the invasion of Ukraine over a year ago.
Could Reddit be banned in Russia?
In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, multiple global news outlets were restricted from the Russian internet, including Deutsche Welle and BBC News Russia.
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Following the recent Wagner rebellion, Google News was also blocked.
Whilst blocking websites does not entirely stop Russian citizens from accessing their content, as exemplified by Bellingcat in response to their own Russian restriction, GlobalData recognises that the internet is becoming increasingly splintered.
GlobalData defines the Splinternet as “the fragmentation of the internet into separate spheres supporting competing visions” according to its 2022 report into the theme.
When asked on the likelihood of Reddit being blocked in Russia, GlobalData senior analyst Amelia Connor-Afflick said she considered Reddit “more vulnerable” than Whatsapp.
Not only is Reddit less popular than Whatsapp, Connor-Afflick stated that unlike the encrypted messaging service, Reddit “can be used as a source of information and could host content that contradicts the state narrative.”
However, a ban for both sites could be likely from Connor-Afflick’s perspective given the recent attempt from Russia to “disconnect its internet infrastructure from the larger global web to increase the state’s control over Russian online activity.”