In Russia, It's Goodbye Instagram, Hello 'Sadgram'

Black-and-white social media alternative asks users for gloomy photos
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2022 5:37 PM CDT
In Russia, 'Sadgram' Replaces Instagram
"Be sad together," Sadgram advises users.   (Getty Images/Pavel Gusev)

Criticizing the invasion of Ukraine, or even calling it a war instead of a "special military operation," is a crime in Russia, but citizens are still allowed to express their sadness. With Instagram now banned in the country, alternatives are sprouting up, including "Grustnogram," which translates to "Sadgram," Reuters reports. The website features gloomy black-and-white photos and urges users to "post sad pictures of yourself, show this to your sad friends, be sad together."

Co-creator Ivan Semkin tells Reuters that the site started as a joke. "We tried to draw a concept, it took a day or two, we tried to make it look good and we realized it came out very well, and it was a seriously good thing that we could show to others," he says. Alexander Tokarev, another co-creator, says the project was started out of sadness that "many high quality and popular services are stopping their work in Russia for various reasons." Meta, Instagram and Facebook's parent company, was banned in Russia last week after a court labeled it "extremist" for allowing posts like "Death to the Russian invaders," NPR reports.

Rossgram, a Russian-made Instagram imitation that closely resembles the original, was supposed to be available this week but wasn't ready when the launch date arrived. Instagram was popular in Russia before the ban, and Vice reports that this has been useful for investigators trying to track down oligarchs' assets. Instagram posts, including some from an oligarch's ex-wife, have been used to connect the sanctioned Russians to mega-yachts that have now been impounded. (Read more Instagram stories.)

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