Instagram Now Blocked In Russia By Russia

Russia followed through on its threat to block Meta-owned Instagram on Monday, cutting off access to tens of millions of users in the country:

Instagram is popular in Russia. It’s Meta’s second most popular app there, according to data from Sensor Tower, behind ubiquitous messaging service WhatsApp. The app has been installed 166 million times across the Russian App Store and Google Play since 2014, making it three times as popular as Facebook. After Russian censor Roskomnadzor announced that the government would restrict access to the app following a 48-hour “transition period,” Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri condemned Russia’s actions, which will affect 80 million people in the country.

This is likely in response to things like Facebook allowing people in a handful of countries around Russia to post things like death threats on Facebook. Which led to attempts by the Russian Government to brand Facebook and Instagram “extremist”.

Clearly the Kremlin wants to cut people off from any information that isn’t favourable to the Russian regime. And they’re willing to do that even if it upsets their own citizens because roughly 60 million of them use the platform, and some make money off of the platform:

On the platform, emotions ran high Sunday among Russians who were about to lose thousands of dollars they received to promote various products, as well as access to millions of followers amassed over the years.

“I’m writing this post now and crying,” Olga Buzova, a Russian reality television star, wrote, saying she hoped “it’s all not true and we will remain here.”

I’m going to be watching this as I can see a scenario where this causes a backlash inside of Russia. And that may make this rather situation go in directions that nobody expected.

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