Reddit puts Russia subreddit under quarantine for misinformationVish Gainon March 1, 2022 at 15:42 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic

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As Ukraine suffers its sixth day of a full-scale Russian invasion, social news aggregation and discussion website Reddit has put the r/Russia subreddit under ‘quarantine’ for spreading misinformation and propaganda.

Reddit has a ‘quarantine’ policy for any community that is found to be “highly offensive or upsetting” and “promoting hoaxes”. While it does not ban the subreddit altogether, a quarantines community does not show up in searches, recommendation and the Reddit feed.

Users trying to enter the subreddit are also asked if they are sure they want to enter the community, in the same way social media websites flag potentially distressing posts, images and videos.

When trying to enter the r/Russia subreddit, users are shown a message that says the community “contains a high volume of information not supported by credible sources” and asked if they are certain they want to continue to the page.

Message that appears when trying to access r/Russia on Reddit.

The r/Russia subreddit claims to be a community for “everything related to the country of Russia” in its about section. It is known to be a space for discussion around Russian national and international politics, with a strong conservative and nationalistic voice.

According to Mashable, which first reported on this story, the community of more than 265,000 members as of yesterday (28 February) has hosted views in recent days that overwhelming try to justify and defend the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began last Thursday.

Some of these posts have accused Ukrainians of spreading propaganda and misinformation online, referring to Ukrainian soldiers as ‘Nazis’ and calling for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be tried as a war criminal.

In the past, a notable instance of a community being put under quarantine is when the r/The_Donald subreddit was quarantined in June 2019 for inciting violence, after years of calls from Reddit users critical of the community to ban it.

“We are clear in our policies that moderators and users may not attempt to manipulate and interfere with the conversations or communities on our platform,” a Reddit spokesperson told Mashable.

Apart from r/Russia, the r/RussiaPolitics subreddit had also been put under quarantine and a moderator of one of the communities had been removed “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 spokesperson said.

The global tech community has been increasing its measures to help Ukrainian civilians and stand up against Russia in recent days. Yesterday, Twitter said it has started flagging all content that links to Russian state-backed media sources.

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