Russia’s leading online social network, VKontakte, was briefly banned on Friday, May 24th, in which follows intensifying official pressure on the company as President Vladimir Putin consolidates his power.
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VKontakte, or www.vk.com, is Europe’s largest homegrown social network with 210 million registered users, was put onto a “black list” of sites barred from distributing content inside Russia. Interestingly enough, the ban was lifted within hours.
The company’s founder Pavel Furov has clashed with the authorities in the past for providing a forum for opposition activists to organize protests against Putin.
According to Vladimir Pikov, a spokesman for the state communications regulator said that it was a mistake, and in the case of the website, someone probably checked a box against the address of the social network. The site was then removed from the list and restrictions on access to it, lifted.
Durov, 28, founded the side in 2006 and his success in building the network, which attracts 27 million users daily who log on to share news, video and photos, has drawn comparisons to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg without the douchey side-story.
Durov refused to comply with an order by the Federal Security Service, a successor of the Soviet-era KGB, to close groups used by activists to organize protests over the December 2011 parliamentary election, which handed victory to Putin’s ruling United Russia party.
The more we look into the story, the more the political side of the issues come forth, and the interesting part of the story isn’t that the social media website was taken off the allowed list in Russia, but rather that the internet can be so contained within a certain space. It could be in some ways a prelude to the way the world shall turn. After Egypt, Libya and Syria all turning to social media to get the story out to the rest of the world, one can definitely see and understand why such a site would be considered a threat to a government.