Google Maps users attack Russia's federal censor, reclassifying it as a ‘permanently closed’ ‘gay bar’
In a sweeping effort to cut access to the instant messenger Telegram, Russia’s federal censor has spent the past five days blocking millions of IP addresses, which has disrupted online businesses with no connection to Telegram, other than shared cloud servers. Never a popular government agency, Roskomnadzor is now one of the most hated institutions in the Russian state bureaucracy, and Internet users want people to know it.
On Google Maps, people have been flooding the entries for Roskomnadzor’s offices across the country with negative reviews, renaming the Moscow headquarters to “Roskompozor” (Roskom-disgrace), changing its listed operating hours to “permanently closed,” and reclassifying it from a “state institution” to a “gay bar” and “psychoneurological dispensary.” Some Internet users have even uploaded photographs to their reviews showing what appears to be groups of terrorists gathered around a flag bearing Telegram's logo, as well as various cat videos and photos of a book titled “What Is Terrorism?”
Since April 16, when the Russian government started blocking Telegram, the Vkontakte pages operated by the State Duma and United Russia (the country’s ruling political party) have received tens of thousands of angry comments demanding that the federal censor spare Telegram.