Russians are now launching their own version of Instagram, after Moscow blocked citizens’ access to the photo-sharing platform on Monday.
Moscow’s move to block a reported 80 millon Russians’ access to Instagram came after Instagram’s US owner – Meta Platforms – said last week it would be lenient on social media users in Ukraine, allowing them to express their resistance and fury at the invading forces by permitting them to post messages such as “death to the Russian invaders” on the platform.
Meta said the change in its hate speech policy only applied to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion and would only be temporary.
In response to this gaping hole in the market (which, The Guardian reports, had Russia’s influenceri in tears), some Russian entrepreneurs are launching their own version of Instagram called ‘Rossgram.’
hate to think what Rossgram’s report button will do https://t.co/cIO1YsUWD8— Dasha Afanasieva (@dasha_reuters) March 16, 2022
Euro News, an outlet which claims to have seen Rossgram’s website, report that Rossgram’s site says Rossgram will launch on March the 28th, and will have “additional functions such as crowdfunding and paid access for some content.”
It has also been reported that Rossgram looks like a clone of Instagram.
Ide #Rossgram umjesto Instagram-a— Jovana Preradović (@JovanaXYZ) March 16, 2022
“In April 2022, an analogue of Instagram called “Rossgram” will be available in Russia with the usual functionality and mobile applications for Android and iOS”
“My partner Kirill Filimonov and our group of developers were already ready for this turn of events and decided not to miss the opportunity to create a Russian analogue of a popular social network beloved by our compatriots,” Alexander Zobov, the initiative’s public relations director, reportedly wrote on the VKontakte social network.
In the wake of Instagram’s ban, many Russians are also turning to Telegram and VKontakte. However, with many Kremlin critics now moving to Telegram, some experts have warned Telegram might soon also be targeted by Russian authorities.
Not coincidentally, internet searches for VPN services in Russia have skyrocketed over the last week (according to research companies).
On Monday, Instagram will be blocked in Russia. This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong.— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) March 11, 2022
Meta said on Sunday that it would narrow its content moderation policy to stop Ukraine users going as far as to call for the death of a head of state.
Nonetheless, Russia, which has banned Facebook too, “has opened a criminal investigation against Meta and prosecutors asked a court to designate the U.S. tech giant an ‘extremist organisation,'” Euro News reports.