Staunton, May 21 – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that “Ukrainians can live without Russian social networks” because they will be able to turn to others that are available, and new data show that Ukrainians across the board have turned away from the Russian social networks Kyiv has blocked in favor of others, especially Facebook in Ukrainian.
The Ukrainian took that step in order to limit the actions of Russian trolls and bloggers on Ukrainians given that Russia has invaded Ukraine and continues to occupy portions of the country and seeks to destabilize the remainder (gordonua.com/news/society/poroshenko-bez-podkontrolnyh-kgb-fsb-socialnyh-setey-moy-ukrainskiy-narod-sposoben-prozhit-189186.html).
Kyiv’s decision has been criticized by many as a violation of media freedom even though other countries that have been invaded have limited contact with the invader and as likely to be ineffective given available workarounds (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/05/putting-kyivs-decision-on-russian.html).
But new data suggest that Ukrainians have accepted the ban in most cases and are simply shifting to other social media platforms not based in Russia. The Ukrainian Facebook audience has been growing by some 35 percent every day since the ban went into effect. Use of other platforms has grown as well (tns-ua.com/news/aktivizatsiya-shodu-zrostannya-facebook-i-google-uanet-na-drugiy-den-pislya-ogoloshennya-pro-blokuvannya and en.censor.net.ua/news/440603/ukrainian_facebook_audience_grown_by_35_after_blocking_of_russian_social_networks_infographics).