Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Blocks Meta’s Twitter Competitor App – Lawmaker

Threads is a new app from the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Stefani Reynolds / AFP

Russia has blocked U.S. tech giant Meta’s competitor app to Twitter just a day after its launch, a senior Russian lawmaker said Friday. 

Threads — a "public conversation" app built by Instagram developers— was downloaded by more than 30 million people after going live on Apple and Android app stores on Thursday.

“This service is being de facto blocked [in Russia],” said Anton Gorelkin, a senior member of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.

Moscow banned Meta products Facebook and Instagram in March 2022 after authorities accused the company of tolerating "Russophobia" during Russia's military campaign in Ukraine, making the popular social media platforms inaccessible to Russian users without the use of a VPN.

Gorelkin, the deputy chair of the State Duma’s Committee on Information Policy, Technology and Communication, said Threads was “seriously integrated” with Instagram’s user base and server infrastructure.

“Therefore, it’s already impossible for Russian users to access this service without the help of a VPN,” he told Russia’s state-run news agency TASS.

Multiple users in Russia told The Moscow Times they were unable to access the app without a VPN.

Threads was the top-charting iPhone app in Russia on Friday despite the challenges in accessing it.

Meta’s WhatsApp messenger was exempt from last year’s ban after a court ruled that it is not used to post public statements.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more