While the Internet might expose people to some of the more negative content out there, it definitely has its benefits. Despite this, it would be a blatant disregard for free speech if a country were to legislate the content of the Internet. That’s exactly what Russia did. According to Vocativ:
Russia earlier this week threatened to shut down Reddit over a post that offered instructions on growing psychedelic mushrooms, and on Thursday, the government said it carried out its threat.
The media watchdog Roskomnadzor released an announcement Thursday morning on its official VKontakte page saying it had banned Reddit in Russia, though some users said they could still access the site. It appeared to depend on which Internet provider they were using.
A few hours after the government announcement, a thread popped up on Reddit by the person who claimed to be behind the post that led to the ban. The person, under the username rsocfan, created a thread Thursday morning called “TIFU [Today I Fucked Up] by getting Reddit banned in Russia.” He included a link to his original post, called “Minimum and reliable method of growing psilocybe”. He wrote the post two years ago in order to test how Roskomnadzor would react. It’s a simple tutorial on how to grow shrooms.
According to rsocfan, Roskomnadzor sent him an official statement in May of 2013 that they were going to block his illegal content, but they didn’t end up actually blocking it. It wasn’t until August 10, 2015 that Roskomnadzor posted a warning to their VKontakte page that they would block Reddit if a certain unnamed drug tutorial was not removed.
Something so authoritarian should not be tolerated in modern society. In order to progress we need to move more towards free, open expression, not regulated expression.