LiveJournal, or LJ, as its users lovingly called it, was a different kind of social media service, one that is almost unrecognizable in a world dominated by the anonymity-shattering power of a Facebook or Twitter. But, as many of its former employees attest, LJ ultimately had the opportunity to become one of these "second-generation" social behemoths. Instead, a stubborn userbase and questionable business decisions harried those ambitions. [...]
Every feature that Facebook has rolled out since I left LJ, we had it first: post by photo, post by SMS, we had those a million years ago. You could call a phone number and record a message, and the audio would get posted to your journal. We had custom friend groups so you could manage where you wanted to post. We had basically all the major features you see today, like a friends page. But we didn't quite figure out how to tell the story or keep people interested. We had every option, but nobody could get it to work. We had the robust privacy options that nobody understands how to use on Facebook. It was a less-public age of the Internet, and one that I sometimes wish we could go back to."
Even though LiveJournal remains all but dead and gone to these ex-employees, its Russified corpse still continues to trudge along, animated by whatever die-hards continue to inhabit the community.
Thanks to its US-based servers, LiveJournal had proven extremely popular in Russia since the platform's launch -- so much so that it became the country's standardized word for "blog," similar to Kleenex or Thermos. Eventually, all US employees were laid off in January 2009, and today LiveJournal continues on as a site run by Russians, for Russians.
The Russian government agency responsible for censorship on the Internet has accused Facebook and Twitter of failing to comply with a law requiring all servers that store personal data to be located in Russia. [...]
Russia previously threatened to block Facebook over its non-compliance with the data-storage law in both 2017 and 2018. [...] "But as users flocked to virtual private networks and proxy services to reach Telegram from their mobile devices and computers -- or resorted to building their own -- government censors added large swaths of IP addresses to the block list," we wrote at the time. "And according to multiple sources within Russia, ISPs there are now blocking large chunks of IP addresses associated with cloud services from Amazon and Google."