Tech entrepreneurs from Russia are ready to introduce their own photo-sharing app in the domestic market. Reports from Wednesday, March 16 specify the purpose of the application which is to fill the gap created by Instagram’s absence. Russian authorities blocked the Meta-owned app this week itself, as a form of retaliation.
Roskomnadzor, communications regulator for the Russian state, suspended all access to Instagram from Monday. This was following its parent company, Meta Platforms giving in a statement last week. They stated that they would enable social media users in Ukraine to post hostile messages like “Death to the Russian invaders.”
Facebook-parent company, Meta also stated that the temporary alteration in its hate speech policy was only applicable in Ukraine following the invasion. The authorities mentioned how it would be wrong preventing Ukrainians from voicing their “resistance” and anger at the hostile military forces. Subsequently, the tech giant stated that they would limit its policy for content moderation for Ukraine. Specifically, this would be in order to forbid statements like “calls for the death of head of state.”
The new picture sharing app would be called ‘Rossgram,’and is set to launch on Monday, March 28. The website of the app specified some of the function that would be available on it. Mainly, it is set to contain additional features like that of crowdfunding and paid access for certain types of content.
“My partner Kirill Filimonov and our group of developers were already ready for this turn of events and decided not to miss the opportunity to create a Russian analogue of a popular social network beloved by our compatriots,” Alexander Zobov, the initiative’s public relations director, wrote on the VKontakte social network.
Russia had previously banned Facebook following a partial ban in retaliation of the restrictions imposed. Recently, prosecutors had also opened a criminal investigation against the tech giant. They asked a court to designate the organisation of Meta Platform as an “extremist organisation.” The case is due in court on Monday, March 21.
Zobov shared a picture on Vkontakte hinting on the appearance of the Rossgram. Evidently, the application is expected to have a colour scheme and layout bearing a significant similarity to that of Instagram. Meta Platforms is yet to acknowledge any requests made for a comment on Rossgram’s appearance.
In the past few month, Russia has been in the process of developing its domestic technology. Specifically, this includes the AYYA T1 smartphones, manufactured by state conglomerate Rostec. Gazpom Media introduced ‘Yappy’ has a domestic competitor to the video-sharing app TikTok.