why the blockade of russia is a big problem

From this Monday, Instagram is officially blocked in Russia. In fact, already on Friday it was known that the Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin’s media and communications regulator, had given the thumbs up on the Meta-owned social network (Facebook). However, they gave users 48 hours of grace to continue using it before imposing the formal restriction.

Instagram censorship leaves the Russian people without direct access to the three most important social networks in the world. It is that Facebook and Twitter had already suffered the same fate in the previous weeks, while the messages against the war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin multiplied.

But neither block is likely to be as felt in Russia as Instagram’s. Indeed, the platform enjoyed a very important popularity in this country; according to Statisticalthe Russian user base was in 56.5 million in 2021with a projection of raising it above 76 million by 2025.

For Adam Mosseri, the boss of the social network, the estimates were even higher. Last Friday, the official posted on Twitter that blocking Instagram would affect some 80 million people in Russia, “separating them from each other and from the rest of the world”. And in the last part of this sentence is a key point to understand why the determination of the Putin government is so serious: about 80% of Russian users have followed at least one account from another country.

By cutting off access to the social network, Russia is closing the door that allowed the public to know what was happening outside their country, without censorship, or to have a different look from that of the official media on the problems. local. And while you can probably get around the restrictions using a VPN or the Tor network, those extra steps can be a hassle for most.

A problem not limited to ‘influencers’

Photo by Katka Pavlickova on Unsplash

When talking about Russia and Instagram, it is inevitable to think of the influencers. After all, as is the case in the vast majority of countries, many content creators have used their accounts on the platform to promote themselves and make money. A recent report from Washington Post sheds light on this topic and how those who have amassed millions of followers on the platform over the years, they lost them overnightliterally.

Some have chosen to move their online activity to Telegram; others have turned to VK, the Russian government-controlled social network. But the truth is that the influencers They represent a small part of those affected by the cut off of access to Instagram on Russian territory. The aforementioned article also highlights small and medium-sized businesses that lack an essential platform to interact with their customers; the same goes for charities that have used it to promote their campaigns and raise money.

And don’t forget the activists either. Those who have spoken out against the war in Ukraine and the actions of the Kremlin have also been affected by this situation. Some of the most notorious cases are those of the television presenter and journalist Ksenia Sobchackwhose account had 9 million followers, and Anastasiya Ivleyevaactress and public figure with nearly 19 million followers.

Russia needs Instagram, and vice versa

Photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash

Let’s see the statistics. Russia currently has a population of just over 146 million, of which just under 60 million had Instagram accounts. This means that nearly 40% of the population was present on the social network, at least until the entry into force of the containment. Undoubtedly, this ratifies the prominence that the platform had gained among the public.