Russian software entrepreneurs are poised to launch a picture-sharing programme on the local market to help fill the hole left by Instagram, which the authorities shut down last week.
The new service, known as Rossgram, will start on March 28 and offer extra capabilities such as crowdsourcing and paid access to specific materials, its website announced on Wednesday last week.
“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 Zubov, the initiative’s public relations director, wrote on the VKontakte social network.
Roskomnadzor suspended access to Instagram starting Monday after its US owner, Meta Platforms, stated last week that it would enable social media users in Ukraine to post statements such as “Death to the Russian invaders.”
Meta, which also owns Facebook, claimed the temporary amendment to its hate speech policy only applied to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, adding it would be immoral to restrict Ukrainians from “expressing their opposition and indignation at the occupying armed forces.”
Meta said on Sunday it was modifying its content moderation policy for Ukraine to prevent calls for the killing of a head of state.
The Russian Federation, which has already banned Facebook and has also begun a criminal investigation into Meta, and prosecutors sought a court order to name the U.S. internet giant an “extremist organization.” The matter is expected in court on Monday.
However, a snapshot uploaded by Zobov on Vkontakte, shows Rossgram’s colour scheme and layout will have a striking similarity to Instagram.
Meta did not immediately react to a request for comment on Rossgram’s design.