Ukrainian Facebook audience surges in wake of social network sanctions

Ukrainian Facebook audience surges in wake of social network sanctions

1 June 2017

Facebook users in Ukraine have grown in number by 1.5 million over the last two weeks, following sanctions against Russia that saw popular social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki blocked in Ukraine.

According to a report by Ukrainian news site Watcher, as of 30 May Ukraine’s Facebook audience stands at 8.3 million people. The rise of 1.5 million users over two weeks represents a significant surge, with Facebook’s average annual audience growth rate in Ukraine standing at 35-40%.

This sharp rise in audience is likely linked to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s signing of an order imposing sweeping sanctions on Russia on 15 May. The order included sanctions against the Mail.ru Group, which owns two of Ukraine’s most popular social networking sites, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki. The sites are among the internet leaders in Ukraine in terms of daily audience figures, with the Ukrainian market the second largest after Russia for VKontakte, often dubbed the “Russian Facebook”.

The controversial order also demands that Ukrainian internet providers block all Yandex services, including its search engine and antivirus programmes DrWeb and Kaspersky Lab.

Economic sanctions will also bring asset freezes and broadcast bans against Russian television channels TV Tsentr, RBK, VGTRK, NTV-Plus, Zvezda, TNT, REN and ORT.

The order signed by Mr Poroshenko imposes sanctions for three years with the possibility of extension.

Source: Watcher (in Ukrainian)