Facebook and Instagram remain banned in Russia
Bang Showbiz

Russian developers are set to launch an Instagram clone to fill the void of the country's recent ban, which reduced influencers to tears.

The ban came into force earlier this month after Russian state communications regulator Roskomnadzor blocked access, claiming Meta allowed posts that called for violence against Russians.

Meta, the owner of Instagram and Facebook, temporarily changed its policy on hate speech for Ukraine because it would be wrong to prevent Ukrainians "expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces."

A Meta spokesperson said: "As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules, like violent speech such as 'death to the Russian invaders'. We still won't allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians."

But now, Russian tech moguls have banded together to form Rossgram.

The social media platform will launch on March 28th to investors, sponsors, and the media, before opening to bloggers and other users.

It will have "no more VPNs and restrictions", and people will be able to log in from "anywhere in Russia." Additional features such as crowdfunding and paid access to certain content will also be available on the app.

Taking to the VKontakte social network, Alexander Zobov, the initiative's public relations director, said: "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."

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The layout and colour scheme appears to follow that of Instagram – and this certainly isn't the first time Russia has replaced familiar Western brands with suspiciously similar logos.

McDonald's shut all 847 restaurants in Russia on March 8th, which led to a copycat design of the iconic golden arches.

Russian fast-food chain Uncle Vanya quite literally flipped the logo on its head, forming a "B".

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

  • To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here.
  • To sign the petition click here.
  • If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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