With the blockage of the main social networks in the Western world in Russia, the country’s citizens are having to use alternative means to gain access to social networks. To circumvent censorship, some Russians are using virtual private networks ( VPN ) and encryption applications to access the internet.
With the help of these technologies, Russians are able to access their accounts on Facebook and Twitter, sites that were blocked by Vladimir Putin. VPNs and encryption are widely used in countries with reduced digital freedom, such as China and Iran.ADVERTISING
Circumventing Russian law
The use of these technologies also makes it possible to safely share news about the war in Ukraine without violating new Russian laws, which prohibit the dissemination of claims that Russian authorities consider to be false about conflicts in Eastern Europe.
During the week of February 28, the date of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the top VPN apps available from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store were downloaded more than 2.7 million times. This represents a more than threefold increase in demand for these tools.
The signal is the fastest-growing in Russia
Furthermore, since March 1st, a number of messaging apps such as Messenger and WhatsApp, both from Meta, have seen a gradual increase in their traffic from Russia. However, the most downloaded messaging app in Russia is the encrypted Signal.
In the last week alone, the encrypted messaging app was downloaded 132,000 times in Russian territory, an increase of more than 28% compared to the previous week. In addition, internet traffic for the app in the country has seen significant growth since the beginning of March.
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Against this movement, Telegram had a relative slowdown in growth since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But still, Pavel Durov ‘s app has been downloaded more than half a million times in Russia since the beginning of this month.