Russian social networks reported a spike in activity during Monday’s global Facebook outage which Moscow officials said showed Russia was right to develop its own sovereign internet and social media platforms.
Russia has for years sought to assert greater sovereignty over its internet segment, pressuring foreign tech companies to remove content and store data in Russia. It has also improved its ability to block platforms that break its rules.
Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said during the nearly six-hour outage of Facebook services on Monday night that it “answers the question of whether we need our own social networks and internet platforms “.
Facebook blamed its outage, which prevented its 3.5 billion users from accessing services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, on a faulty configuration change.
Russia’s largest social network, Vkontakte, has many more daily users in the country than Facebook and reported an increase in posts and users after Facebook’s services fell.
“The number of views of Vkontakte videos increased by 18% and the number of messages sent by Messenger by 21%,” said the Izvestia newspaper quoting Marina Krasnova, head of the social network.
She specifies that the site’s audience jumped 19% compared to the previous day.
Odnoklassniki, another popular social network, said activity on its site increased during the Facebook outage, news agency RIA reported.
Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki are owned by Russian tech company Mail.Ru.
Russia disconnected from the global internet in tests earlier this year, part of a campaign to prevent the country from being cut off from foreign infrastructure.