Russian government bans news channels and social media apps, residents turn to VPN to bypass censorship

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, the government of Russia has been making it harder for the people of Russia to watch or listen to any sort of news from the outside world by banning social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. The country has also banned many news channels from being broadcasted to the residents. In order to stay in the know and get all information from the outside world the residents have turned to VPN to help them.

VPN or Virtual Private Network is a connection that is made directly from a device to a network so that the data can be transferred without any danger of external eavesdropping from hackers. The main purpose of VPN is to hide a person’s online activity from any external links. It also prevents a person’s IP address from being revealed to the websites they visit. A user can also change their region using VPN to access the things on the server or from that region. So the Russians are using the last tactic to keep themselves updated.

The reason that one of the most popular social media apps was banned in Russia was that when the invasion started the demand for Facebook grew and according to a chart from AppFigures it was clear that the downloads of Facebook had doubled in the first week of the invasion. The overall downloads went from 12k daily to 22k in less than 5 days up till Friday. As a result, and to censor their resident’s outreach the Russian government banned Facebook.

According to the estimates done by Appfigures the downloads for VPN in Russia went from a little less than 16k daily to a whopping 700k as of late. On both the Play Store and App Store apps in the region of Russia the top 10 rankings chart was dominated by VPN apps. On the combined total of the two apps the top 3 rankings were taken by Secure VPN, VPN proxy master and VPN- fast, private and secure.

Almost all of the VPN apps in the chart are pretty much the same and not any one of them is branded. This means that the residents of Russia want only to be able to browse the internet and don’t care whatever VPN they use. Upon searching the top 3 overall apps came which was due to the optimization offered by App store and the apps which were less optimized like Nord VPN or Turbo VPN came very late in the list.

As good as it is that people have found a way to get around their country’s censorship, this might not continue for long as the government has ways to shut down VPN from operating in their country.
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