Russia: Facebook Outage Highlights Need for Online Sovereignty

Russian social networks announced an increase in their activity and number of users after Facebook outage.

  • The social networking program
    The social networking program "Vikontakta" is the most popular in Russia

Russian social networks reported a spike in activity on Monday, during the global outage of Facebook services, and Moscow officials said that this proves Russia's right to develop its sovereign internet platforms and social networks.

For years, Russia has sought to assert greater sovereignty over its internet segment, putting pressure on foreign tech firms to delete content and store data in Russia instead. 

Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said during the near six-hour outage of Facebook services on Monday evening that this answers the questions of whether social networks and internet platforms are actually needed.

Facebook blamed its outage, which kept its 3.5 billion users from accessing services such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, on a faulty configuration change.

Russia's Vkontakte

Russia's largest home-grown social network, Vkontakte, has more daily users in the country than Facebook and witnessed a spike in messages after Facebook's services dropped.

"The number of Vkontakte video views increased by 18% and the number of messages sent in messenger by 21%," the Izvestia newspaper cited Marina Krasnova, head of the social network, as saying.

She said the site's audience had jumped by 19% in comparison with the day before.

In efforts to shield the country from being cut off from foreign infrastructure, Russia disconnected itself from the global internet during tests earlier this year.