Over a decade after Facebook launched, its Russian analog Vkontakte was based in Saint Petersburg and soon outperformed on the Russian market, accounting for over 38 million monthly users by February 2019. It also enjoyed the largest share of active users, compared to other social networks across the country. In terms of demographics, 25- to 34-year-olds represented the largest user share for both, Facebook and Vkontakte, respectively. However, Moscow was the main hub for the former and Saint Petersburg for the latter.
In recent years, Instagram has been gaining popularity in Russia. By February 2020, more than 44 million users were recorded countrywide. Twitter accounted for higher user reach compared to LinkedIn and Snapchat during 2019. It was also the only platform in the country where a male audience prevailed, while the highest female presence was reported for Snapchat. As for emerging social media platforms, TikTok’s audience was largely represented by teenagers aged up to 17 years, the majority of whom where female android users, as of January 2020. If messengers are considered apart from social media platforms, WhatsApp was the frontrunner with roughly 70 million monthly active users, while the Russian-founded Telegram accounted for over 22 million users.
Russians use social media for a large variety of purposes. Vkontakte as one of the most popular social networks in the country, accounted for a higher number of prison sentences related to illegal social media activity. Despite Russian parents’ reluctance regarding children’s social media exposure, nearly half of children aged 10 to 12 years already had a personal social media account in 2019.