Internet, social networks and blocking

Television, social networks and online media are the main sources of information. In the wake of the “special operation”, trust in television has grown, while trust in internet sources has sunk. The banned social networks keep losing users. There is no unambiguous opinion on blocking and restrictions on the Internet in the society: Russians are rather against it, while more than half of respondents aren’t against Internet censorship as such.

Television remains the main source of information, but its popularity as the main way of receiving news is gradually declining. The share of those who noted social networks and online publications as the main source of news was 39% and 32%, respectively.

As sources of information, respondents most of all trust television (52%), Internet publications (17%) and social networks (17%). At the beginning of spring, against the background of the “special operation” and the mobilization of public opinion, trust in television increased, trust in sources on the Internet decreased. However, by the end of April, this effect began to smooth out.

The share of daily Internet users continues to increase: 65% – in November 2019, 68% — in March 2022, 70% – in April.

The share of daily Internet users increased in two of the four age groups: in the group of 18-24 years – up to 95% (89% in March), in the group of 55 years and older — up to 44% (40% in March).  In the 25-39—year-old group, the share of active users remained almost unchanged and amounted to 92% (91% in March), in the 40-54-year-old group it decreased to 73% (76% in March).

60% of respondents visit social networks daily or almost daily, another 8% – several times a week, 4% – 1 time a week or less.

The TOP 3 social networks by popularity among users included: VK (65%), YouTube (47%) and Odnoklassniki (40%). Facebook Instagram* and Facebook*, which have been banned in Russia, continue to lose users. At the end of April, 21% and 5% of respondents used them, respectively (23% and 6% in March).

Majority of respondents (85%) Instagram Facebook* and Instagram* have been blocked one way or another. Respondents aged 18-24 and 25-39 are the most aware of this: 95% in each of these categories are aware of the blocking; and active Internet users: among daily users, 94% of respondents are aware of the blocking of social network data. The least aware are respondents aged 55 years and older: 72% of them know about blocking, slightly more than a quarter (26%) do not know; as well as those who do not use the Internet: about half (49%) of them have not heard about access restrictions.

Blocking of Facebook* and Instagram* is supported by about a third (32%), and 46% do not support it.

In general, among all age groups, those who do not support blocking predominate. At the same time, in the group of 55 years and older, a third of respondents could not answer this question. In the group of respondents who do not use the Internet, 26% support blocking social network data, and the same number do not support it, while half of the respondents in this category found it difficult to answer.

The lowest level of support for blocking is represented in the youngest group: among 18-24-year-olds surveyed, only a fifth (19%) support restricting access to these social media, while 72% do not support it. Active Internet users also demonstrate low support for blocking. Among them, about a third (34%) support this decision, slightly more than half (53%) do not support it.

Despite the rather low level of support for blocking social networks, the majority (57%) of respondents believe that censorship on the Internet is still necessary. Only a third of respondents believe that the dangers of the Internet are overestimated, and censorship should not be introduced in any case. In the youngest group, the two points of view are supported by an equal number of respondents – about half each. Among respondents aged 55 and older, the confidence in the need for censorship is higher than in other groups: 62% support it.

*Instagram and Facebook are banned on the territory of the Russian Federation. Meta is recognized as an extremist organization.


The survey by the Levada Center was conducted April 21 – 27 2022, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1616 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%

2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%

2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

The ANO Levada Center is included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents.


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