Could Russia Ban WhatsApp And Telegram?

Meta has a target on its back anyway.

Could Russia ban WhatsApp and Telegram
Image by Manik Berry/Fossbytes

Russia has banned several social media apps amidst the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. So is there also a possibility for Russia to ban WhatsApp and Telegram? The first set of Kremlin’s takedowns slowed down western social media platforms, later banning them altogether.

Russia has already banned Instagram and Facebook. Meta also owns WhatsApp messenger, which paints a target on its back. WhatsApp currently has 77 million users in Russia, while Telegram enjoys 38 million members in the country. However, reports suggest that Telegram has been getting more traffic lately.

This could be because Telegram has mass groups and it is much easier to spread information over Telegram.

WhatsApp In Russia

WhatsApp is the only Meta-owned service that is still active in Russia. Earlier in March, Facebook decided to allow calls for violence against Putin and Russia. While the company partially rolled back its decision, Russia decided to ban and sue Facebook. As a result, Meta is now charged as an ‘extremist’ platform in Russia.

The Kremlin’s road rollers didn’t stop at Facebook only. Meta-owned Instagram is also banned from Russia now. So it won’t be a surprise if Russia bans WhatsApp. However, it is unlikely to happen as WhatsApp isn’t a mass media platform.

That’s where Telegram steps in. Telegram saw an increase in downloads and users when WhatsApp updated its privacy policy last year. You can also use Telegram to create public groups and distribute information.

Recent reports also say that Telegram has surpassed WhatsApp in terms of internet traffic in Russia. With that said, we can assume it is on Kremlin’s watchlist. However, Telegram has almost shady privacy policies in Russia, which is why it may not get banned.

So in a nutshell, if you’re wondering, it is possible for Russia to ban WhatsApp and Telegram. But both these platforms are not as public or as far-reaching as Facebook and Instagram, which makes them less of a threat to the Kremlin.

Would Russia ban WhatsApp? Do let us know what you think about it in the comments.

Manik Berry

Manik Berry

With a Master’s degree in journalism, Manik writes about big tech and has a keen eye for political-tech news. In his free time, he’s browsing the Kindle store for new stuff read. Manik also adores his motorcycle and is looking for new routes on weekends. He likes tea and cat memes. You can reach him at [email protected]
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