Russia’s promised ban on Instagram went into effect today, with the social media platform inaccessible to the vast majority of the country’s population, according to the internet watchdog. GlobalCheck†
The country last week announced plans to ban Instagram, in response to parent company Meta’s decision to allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to incite violence against Russian soldiers following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia has steadily restricted access to online platforms in an effort to control the flow of information about the war and has already banned Facebook and Twitter.
Last Friday, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said: in a tweet that “This decision will cut off 80 million in Russia, and from the rest of the world, as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong.”
Instagram will be blocked in Russia on Mondays. This decision will cut off 80 million in Russia from each other 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
Over the weekend, Russian influencers on Instagram posted goodbye messages to their followers, encouraging them to follow them on other platforms or download VPN software to circumvent the state’s ban.
The Washington Post reports that one Russian fashion influencer, Karina Nigay, complained about the ban in a live video. “This is my job,” Nigay said. “Suppose you just got fired from your job and you get no income at all, but at the same time you have expenses for your family, for your team if you have subordinates, and then you suddenly have nothing to pay your team.”
Nigay later suggested that the ban could be beneficial for Russian fashion brands. She also responded to commentators on her video who compared her complaints unfavorably to the plight of Ukrainians by saying, “Listen to those who write all kinds of filth, all these propaganda stories, I don’t give a damn.”
Instagram has also provided a platform for Russians to speak out against the war, including wealthy oligarchs and their families. Sofia Abramovich, daughter of billionaire Roman Abramovich, shared a anti-Putin post on Instagram before removing it, while wealthy Russian banker Oleg Tinkov Posted that the war was “unthinkable and unacceptable”.