WeChat Has Been Banned by the Russian Government

In what might possibly be the irony to end all ironies, WeChat - China's most prominent social media platform - has been banned in Russia. Typically it's the Chinese government who are the most keen to put the red stamp on outside social media, and usually they're doing it to help perpetuate their own platforms, but now they've had a taste of their own medicine.

Officially, Russian authorities are saying that WeChat has been blocked because they failed to provide 'contact information' to them, but in reality it probably has more to do with the fact that all social networks active in Russia have to store local user data on servers located in Russia. Again, this is something that the Chinese government also stipulate.

Several other big platforms have felt the sting of this regulation, most recently LinkedIn, but Google and Facebook remain blissfully unaffected by it, at least for the time being. LinkedIn decided not to fight back, citing a lack of interest in the Russian market, but it's unlikely that Facebook or Google would surrender quite so easily, were they faced with the same issue.

It's hard to imagine WeChat having much of a vested interest in holding on to the Russian market, but it will be interesting to see how they respond to this. Nearly every major western social media platform is blocked in China, and they recently pledged to exert more control over search engines as well.

Interestingly, LinkedIn is available in China because the company agreed to store information on local servers there. That's the rub, really, China is a far more interesting emergent market for tech and social media companies than Russia is, and they have a far easier time convincing said companies to do things on their terms. Russia can't compete with that, and their similar stance on foreign platforms is far more likely to lose them revenue than actually force platforms to adapt their international approach.

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