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Facebook was banned earlier for what Moscow regarded as violating “rights and freedom of Russian nationals”.
Russia is launching its picture-sharing social network Rossgram, a replacement for Instagram. This follows Russia’s ban on Instagram last week by the local authorities after Meta (NASDAQ: FB) announced it was limiting its hate speech policy to Ukrainians, thereby permitting Ukrainians to make posts with death threats to the Russian military invaders.
Alexander Zobov and Kirill Filimonov, two developers in Russia, state that they were already working on Rossgram in expectation of events like this. The Russian technology experts are confident that Rossgram will be Russia’s version of Instagram. The picture-sharing social network comes with extra features like a subscription to content, referral layout, and crowdfunding. The app will launch on the 28th of March and will open to investors, bloggers, sponsors, and influencers. It will not be available to regular users on iOS and Android devices until April.
Meta said the change in hate speech policy is a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It believes that the people need to express their rage and aversion to the attack. However, Meta explained that the hate speech policy limitations are temporarily allowed. It will also restrict credible death threats against Russian citizens and posts calling for Putin’s death. The Russian government has commenced a criminal investigation and declared Meta an extremist organization for supporting hate speeches. The case is due in court on Monday.
Russia had been improving its technology, designing an independent media space outside the Western internet. For instance, Rostec State Corp produced AYYA T1 smartphones in October. In November, Gazprom-Media, Russia’s largest media holding, launched Yappy, a rival app to the video-based app TikTok. Russia’s preparedness is almost like the country had separated itself from the Western societies before sanctions began.
Will Rossgram Be Accepted in Russia?
Facebook was banned earlier for what Moscow regarded as violating “rights and freedom of Russian nationals.” Meta shares declined 5.96% in the last month. It further declined 5.48% to trade at $189.09 per share ten days ago. It has seen a 2.58% rise in the last five days.
Russian influencers are devastated about the ban from an app that is a source of income for many. Karina Nigay, a fashion blogger with close to 3 million followers, said:
“This is my life, this is my soul. This is what I have been waking up to and falling asleep with for the last five years. I’m in a state of resentment and nowhere near a state of acceptance.”
The Rossgram logo will be similar to Instagram, with the same color coordination and lineup. Meta has not commented on this so far.
The Russians’ demand for VPNs has soared since the ban. The demand on Monday exceeded the daily average in mid-February by 2,088%. Considering how popular Instagram was before the ban, a large population seeks ways to elude the ban.
Russian-founded channels like Telegram and VKontakte have been sharing information about the war and will welcome new users. Russia will not be banning WhatsApp as it is not a source of information but rather a means of communication.