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 internet monitoring service GlobalCheck.
The Russian state announced plans to ban Instagram last week, in response to parent company Meta’s decision to allow Facebook and Instagram users in certain countries to call for violence against Russian soldiers in following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia has regularly restricted access to online platforms in an effort to control the flow of war information and has previously banned Facebook and Twitter.
This week, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said in a tweet that “this move will cut 80 million people in Russia off from each other, and from the rest of the world, because around 80% of people in Russia follow an account. Instagram outside of their country. This is wrong.”
Instagram will be blocked from Monday in Russia. A decision that will cut off 80 million people in Russia from each other and the rest of the world, as 80% of Russians follow an Instagram account outside their country.
Over the weekend, Russian Instagram influencers posted farewell messages to their followers, encouraging them to follow them on other platforms or download VPN software to circumvent the state ban.
The Washington Post reports that a Russian fashion influencer, Karina Nigay, lamented the ban in a live video. “It’s my job,” Nigay said. “Imagine that you have just been completely laid off from work and you do not receive any income, but at the same time you have expenses for your family, for your team if you have subordinates, and then all of a sudden you don’t you have nothing more to pay your team.
Nigay later suggested that the ban might actually prove beneficial for Russian fashion brands. She also responded to commenters on her video who compared her complaints unfavorably to the plight of Ukrainians by saying, “Listen, to those who write all kinds of dirt, all this propaganda stuff, I absolutely 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 an anti-Putin post on Instagram before deleting it, while wealthy Russian banker Oleg Tinkov said war was “unthinkable and unacceptable”.