Earlier this week, Instagram and Facebook were blocked. Rossgram will take over on March 28.
Russian tech entrepreneurs are planning to launch a picture-sharing app on the domestic market to help fill the void left by Instagram, which was blocked by authorities this week. According to its website, the new service, known as Rossgram, will launch on March 28 and will include additional features such as crowdfunding and paid access to some content.
“My partner Kirill Filimonov and our group of developers were already prepared for this turn of events and decided not to miss the opportunity to create a Russian analog of a popular social network beloved by our compatriots,” the initiative’s public relations director, Alexander Zubov, wrote on the social network VKontakte.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state communications regulator, blocked access to Instagram on Monday, after its US owner Meta announced last week that it would allow social media users in Ukraine to post messages like “Death to the Russian invaders.”
Meta, which also owns Facebook, stated that the temporary change in its hate speech policy applied only to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion and that it would be wrong to prevent Ukrainians from “expressing their resistance and fury at the invading military forces.”
On Sunday, Meta announced that it was tightening its content moderation policy for Ukraine to prohibit calls for the death of a head of state.
Russia, which has already banned Facebook, has launched a criminal investigation into Meta, and prosecutors have asked a court to declare the US tech behemoth a “extremist organization.” The case is scheduled to be heard in court on Monday.
Rossgram’s color scheme and layout will be very similar to Instagram, according to a photo shared by Zobov on Vkontakte. Meta did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Rossgram’s design.
Russia has been developing domestic technology in recent months, including the AYYA T1 smartphones produced by state conglomerate Rostec.
Yappy, a domestic competitor to video-sharing platform TikTok, was launched by Gazprom Media in November.