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The livelihoods of Russian influencers have been 'taken away' from them as a result of the country's social media ban.
As Ukraine faces the 19th day of President Vladimir Putin's invasion, with the UN estimating more than 1,600 civilians have been killed alongside thousands of troops on either side, Russia appears keen to control its narrative.
Those who distribute 'fake news' regarding the conflict - i.e., truthfully describing it as war - can face up to 15 years behind bars, Russia's lower house of parliament said when announcing the legislation.
On Monday, Instagram will be blocked in Russia. This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong.— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) March 11, 2022
Earlier this month, the Russian state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, announced it had restricted access to Facebook and Twitter. It has now banned Instagram, claiming it's being used for 'calls to commit violent acts against Russian citizens, including military personnel', ABC News reports.
In addition to Russia trying to combat 'fake' reports of bombing a maternity and children's hospital in Mariupol, footage of which is widely available on social media and directly contradicts the Kremlin's claims, Facebook and Instagram removed Russia Today and Sputnik from their output in the UK and EU.
While hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens download VPNs to circumvent the new restrictions, influencers have been left in tears over the ban, fearing they'll lose their audiences without keeping up their content.
'I am not afraid of admitting that I do not want to lose you. I do not know what the future holds. I don't know,' Olga Buzova, who has 23.3 million Instagram followers, says in a recent video, as per Insider.
'I just shared my life, my work, and my soul. I did not do this all as a job for me, this is a part of my soul. It feels like a big part of my heart, and my life is being taken away from me,' she continues, saying she was 'going to go and continue crying'.
One of the #Russian bloggers cries that in two days her Instagram will stop working— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 11, 2022
She does not care at all about the thousands of dead people, including her compatriots. Obviously, her biggest worry right now is that she won't be able to post pictures of food from restaurants. pic.twitter.com/LSdBiSlwHr
In a clip shared by NEXTA, an unnamed Russian content creator can be seen rather emotional, saying she was in the 'first stage of grief'.
'Do you think that for me, as an Instagram influencer, this is a source of income? To me, it's all life. It's the soul. It's the one thing with which I wake up, fall asleep. F*cking five years in a row,' she says.
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, criticised Russia's move. 'On Monday, Instagram will be blocked in Russia. This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong,' he tweeted.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
Featured Image Credit: @nexta_tv/Twitter/@buzova86/Instagram
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