Reddit has confirmed that it will locally block content if it receives a "valid request from and authorized entity."
The policy confirmation comes after the company blocked a specific thread about growing psychoactive mushrooms in Russia. The country's Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, Roskomnadzor, temporarily banned reddit earlier in the week. Blocking the specific post was required of reddit in order to get the entire site unblocked.
Reddit also revealed that it has blocked the entire r/WatchPeopleDie subreddit in Germany.
According to the company, it censored the specific content in Germany and Russia in order to "preserve the existence of reddit in those regions."
It's clear that in reddit's mind, having most of the site available is better than taking a stand and winding up having no reddit in some countries.
Here's the full statement from reddit:
This week, Reddit received valid legal requests from Germany and Russia requesting the takedown of content that violated local law. As a result, /r/watchpeopledie was blocked from German IPs, and a post in /r/rudrugs was blocked from Russian IP's in order to preserve the existence of reddit in those regions. We want to ensure our services are available to users everywhere, but if we receive a valid request from an authorized entity, we reserve the right to restrict content in a particular country. We will work to find ways to make this process more transparent and streamlined as Reddit continues to grow globally.
Of course, reddit is far from the only tech company than institutes regional bans on content. Google does it. Twitter does it. Facebook does it. But that doesn't mean reddit users are going to be happy about this. When it comes to any form of censorship – no matter the circumstance – you can expect a pretty loud pushback from at least some of the site's population.