Unsubscribe time. What is happening with popular telegram-channels in Belarus

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9 mins

На русском языке: Время отписок. Что происходит с популярными телеграм-каналами в Беларуси
На беларускай мове: Час адпісак. Што адбываецца з папулярнымі тэлеграм-каналамі ў Беларусі

More than 360 Belarusian telegram channels, chats and groups are now included in the Republican List of Extremist Materials. Only in December, the list was replenished by 53 positions (channels, groups and chats). After a large increase in the audience of popular telegram-channels in the summer-autumn of 2020, now you can observe its outflow. The editors of motolko.help looked through the data on how many people unsubscribed from popular telegram channels.

Telegram channel NEXTA-Live for a long time remains one of the most popular Belarusian telegram- channels. Its audience exceeded one million subscribers as of October 6, 2021. In August 2020, unique photos and videos from the protests were published there, as well as calls to join marches. But on October 20, 2020, the Court of the Central District of Minsk recognized the NEXTA-Live telegram-channel and the NEXTA logo as extremist materials. The distribution of these materials entailed administrative responsibility. Many Belarusian media had to edit old materials, removing the mention of an extremist resource in them.

A large wave of unsubscribes swept through telegram-channels on October 13, 2021. On this day, information appeared in the GUBOP telegram-channel that responsibility, including criminal liability, could come not only for the dissemination of extremist materials. For subscribing to an extremist telegram-channel, you can be sentenced to up to seven years’ imprisonment under Article 361-1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (Creation of an extremist formation or participation in it). On this day, telegram channels lost their subscribers massively:

  • NEXTA-Live – minus 18 262 subscribers;
  • Zerkalo.io news – minus 17 267 subscribers;
  • NEXTA – minus 13 063 subscribers;
  • Belarus golovnogo mozga – minus 5 814 subscribers;
  • MotolkoHelp– minus 3 538 subscribers.

Since the spring of 2021, in the telegram-channels of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, GUBOP and others associated with the state media, videos have appeared in which detained people confess on camera that they were subscribed to “wrong” telegram channels, were influenced by them, etc. As a rule, for this they were sentenced to administrative punishment.

The editors of Motolko.help learned the statistics on the service telemetr.ru and tgstat.com and chose 20 Belarusian telegram-channels, which lost the biggest number of audience in a month. 17 of them are now considered extremist. Being subscribed to popular telegram-channels in Belarus has become unsafe. Data is as of December 29, 2021.

NEXTA-Live

Despite a large outflow of the audience, NEXTA-Live is still the most popular telegram-channel in the Belarusian segment. Its audience is 824 thousand people today. Over the past month, the channel has lost 50,7 thousand subscribers. On average, the post is viewed by 283,1 thousand people. Audience engagement – 34,4%.

On the day when the channel was included in the list of extremists, 24,9 thousand people unsubscribed from it. The next day it was 21,000. Then the pace of unsubscribes slowed down.

Zerkalo.io news

The telegram-channel Zerkalo.io (former TUT. BY) holds the second position of the popularity rating and the number of unsubscribes. Today, 413,9 thousand people have subscribed to it. Over the past month, it has lost 35,5 thousand subscribers. One post is viewed by an average of 191,6 thousand people. And the audience engagement rate is one of the highest – 46.3%.

By the decision of the Court of the Central District dated August 13, 2021, this telegram-channel was recognized as extremist.

NEXTA

NEXTA is the third most popular telegram-channel among Belarusians. Today, 383,2 thousand people are subscribed to it. The channel lost 31,5 thousand subscribers in a month. One post is viewed by an average of 142,6 thousand people. Audience engagement on the NEXTA channel is higher than on NEXTA-Live and remains about 37.2%.

The NEXTA telegram-channel was recognized as extremist by the decision of the Court of the Central District of Minsk dated October 20, 2020.

Belarus golovnogo mozga

The fourth position in terms of popularity and number of unsubscribes is held by the telegram-channel Belarus golovnogo mozga, the audience of which is 175,2 thousand people. The channel lost 14,9 thousand subscribers in a month. The coverage of one post is 60,5 thousand people, and the audience engagement is 34,5%.

The author of this telegram-channel is Ihar Losik, a blogger and freelance consultant of the Belarusian service of Radio Svaboda. The channel was recognized as extremist on April 19, 2021. And on December 14, Ihar Losik was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

MotolkoHelp

The fifth position in terms of the number of unsubscribes per month is held by the telegram-channel of blogger Anton Motolko MotolkoHelp. Today, 103,9 thousand people are subscribed to the channel, and 11,7 thousand people have subscribed to it in a month. On average, the coverage of one post is 88,9 thousand people. Audience engagement is 85,5%.

On March 23, 2021, the Court of the Partizansky district of Minsk recognized the information products of the channel as extremist. On this day, the channel not only didn’t lose subscribers, but also got 92 new ones. And on April 2, it became known that the blogger is on the List of organizations and individuals involved in terrorist activities. After this news, just 324 users decided to unsubscribe from the channel.

Chai z malinavym varenniem

The telegram-channel Chai z malinavym varenniem [“Tea with raspberry jam”– ed.] tells about the news of Belarus with humor and irony, posts memes and real stories. The number of subscribers of the channel is 109,8 thousand people. But even here the outflow of the audience is noticeable – over the past month, 9,3 thousand people have unsubscribed from the channel. The coverage of one post is 61,2 thousand people. And the audience engagement is 55,7%.

The telegram-channel received the title of “extremist” on August 31, 2021.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

The official telegram-channel of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya publishes the latest news about the activities of the politician and talks about the work of her team and friendly initiatives. Today, 91,000 people are subscribed to it. Over the past month, unsubscribes amounted to 8,7 thousand people. Coverage of one post – 72,1 thousand users. Audience engagement is one of the highest – 79,1%.

The Court of the Central District of Minsk recognized the channel as extremist on October 15, 2021.

Nasha Niva

The audience of the telegram-channel of the oldest Belarusian newspaper “Nasha Niva” today is 64,1 thousand subscribers. The number of audience decreased by 8,5 thousand people in a month. On average, one post of the channel is seen by 26 thousand people. And the audience engagement is quite high – 40,4%.

By the decision of the Court of the Central district of Minsk, the telegram-channel “Nasha Niva” is one of the extremist from November 23, 2021.

GOLOS | PLATFORM news

77 thousand people are subscribed to the telegram-channel of the Golos platform [“Voice” in English– ed.]. Messages do not appear there as regularly as in news channels. Basically, these are project news, links to initiatives. Over the past month, the channel has lost 8,1 thousand subscribers. One post is seen by about 41,2 thousand users. Audience engagement is 53,5%.

On October 15, 2021, the Court of Central District of Minsk recognized information products of the telegram-channel as extremist.

LUXTA

The telegram-channel LUXTA is another project from the NEXTA team. They call themselves a “Legendary center for psychological oppression”. 85,2 thousand people are subscribed to the channel. 7,9 thousand people have unsubscribed in a month. One post on the channel is seen by an average of 39,2 thousand people. At the same time, the audience involvement is 46%.

The telegram-channel LUXTA has been among extremist since November 23, 2020.

Maya Kraina Belarus

The tenth position in terms of the number of unsubscribes per month is held by the telegram-channel Maya Kraina Belarus [“My country is Belarus” – ed.]. The description states that it is “a patriotic and historical news channel with elements of entertainment”. Today, 79,6 thousand people are subscribed to it, and 7,5 thousand users have subscribed to it in a month. Coverage of one post is 22,5 thousand users. Audience engagement – 25,2%.

The channel was recognized as extremist by the decision of the court of the Zheleznodorozhny district of Gomel dated March 22, 2021.

Belsat

The telegram-channel Belsat publishes important news from the eponymous TV-channel. 55,5 thousand people are now subscribed to the telegram-channel. Unsubscribes over the past month were 6,3 thousand users. The coverage of one post is 14 thousand users. Audience engagement is 25,2%.

On July 27, 2021, the court of the Zheleznodorozhny district of Gomel recognized the information products of this channel as extremist. And on November 3, the Ministry of Internal Affairs granted it with the status of an “extremist formation”.

Typical Belarus

The telegram-channel Typical Belarus, where news from Belarus, entertainment content and advertising are published, is subscribed to by 75,1 thousand people.The number of unsubscribes amounted to 6,3 thousand in a month. One post is seen by 20,1 thousand people. Audience engagement is 26,8%.

In January 2021, this and other telegram-channels were seen in the publication of materials speaking up for the actions of OMON. There one could also find messages on the activities of Yury Voskresensky, reposts of state media and advertising of telegram-channels that are associated with Lukashenka’s entourage.

Nick and Mike

In the description of the telegram-channel Nick and Mike it is said that there they publish “what is talked about in the corridors of the Belarusian authorities”. Here you can find insides, reasoning and analytics. The channel has 58,5 thousand subscribers. In a month, 5,8 thousand people unsubscribed from it. On average, one post is seen by 66 thousand people. Audience engagement – 112,6%. This can be explained by the fact that posts from this channel are published by telegram-channels with a larger audience.

On November 30, 2021, the Court of the Central District of Minsk recognized the telegram-channel as extremist.

Basta!

The telegram-channel Basta! has 58,6 thousand subscribers today. Over the past month, the channel has lost 5,7 thousand subscribers. The coverage of one post is 17,9 thousand people. Audience engagement – 30.6%.

On August 16, 2021, the Court of the Moskovsky District of Minsk recognized the channel’s information products as extremist materials.

Belarus is in shock!

The content of the telegram-channel Belarus is in shock! is very similar to what Typical Belarus publishes: news, entertainment content and advertising. In some posts, the difference with Typical Belarus can only be found in the time of publication. Today, 66,7 thousand people are subscribed to this channel, 5,7 thousand have unsubscribed in a month. The coverage of one post is 15 thousand people. Audience engagement – 22.5%.

Together with the telegram-channel Typical Belarus, this channel in January 2021 was seen in the publication of materials speaking up for OMON, telling about the activities of Yury Voskresensky, as well as reposts of state media and advertising of telegram channels that are associated with lukashenka’s entourage.

Cyber Partisans

The telegram-channel Cyber Partisans publishes exclusive information with wiretaps of law enforcers and important news from friendly channels. Today, 66,7 thousand people are subscribed to the channel. Over the past month, 5,5 thousand users have unsubscribed from it. The coverage of one post – 81,3 thousand people – more than the number of subscribers. Audience engagement is 121,7%. Such data can be explained by reposts to other popular channels.

On August 17, 2021, by the decision of the Court of the Central District of Minsk, the channel was recognized as extremist.

Belarus Now

The telegram-channel Belarus Now can be called a brother of the channels Typical Belarus and Belarus is in shock!. Same ads and some posts. The audience of the channel is 64 thousand people. Despite the fact that the channel, like two similar ones, is not included in the list of extremist, it also loses its audience. Over the past month, minus 5,4 thousand. The coverage of one post is 14 thousand people. Audience engagement – 21,8%.

Together with the channels Typical Belarus and Belarus in Shock!, in January 2021, this channel was seen in the publication of materials speaking up for the actions of OMON, telling about the activities of Yury Voskresensky, as well as reposts of state media and advertising of telegram channels that are associated with Lukashenka’s entourage.

As a rule, such channels appeared on the wave of the “corona hype” in the spring of 2020 and then began to work out the political agenda. They have almost no content of their own.

Kuluary KYKY

Kuluary KYKY [Couloir of KYKY –ed.] – the telegram-channel of the project KYKY.org . 43,8 thousand people are subscribed to the channel today. Monthly unsubscribed – 5,1 thousand people. The coverage of one post is 25,6 thousand people. At the same time, the channel has a fairly high audience engagement – 58,3%.

The Court of the Central District of Minsk recognized the channel as extremist on September 24, 2021.

Vybory vidish? | Zerkalo.io Politics

The telegram channel Vybory vidish? | Zerkalo.io Politics [“Do you see the elections?”- ed.] is subscribed to by 36,2 thousand people. In a month, 4,7 thousand users unsubscribed from it. The coverage of one post here is 21,2 thousand people. And the audience engagement is 58,4%.

By the decision of the Central District Court dated August 13, 2021, the social networks of the project Zerkalo.io (former TUT. BY) are recognized as extremist.

What does this all mean?

The Telegram messenger does not allow to find out the residence of the audience of a particular telegram-channel. Indirectly, it is possible to understand what percentage of active audience reads the resource from Belarus with the help of online surveys in the channel, where there are answer options, suggesting that people reading the channel are outside Belarus. For example, the telegram-channel NEXTA-Live is more focused on the Russian-speaking audience than on the Belarusian one. And it is likely that more Belarusians are subscribed to the NEXTA telegram-channel than to the NEXTA-Live.

There are several factors in unsubscribing from popular telegram-channels. The first and most recent is the constant arrests of people and the appearance of “confessional” videos, where they are forced to say on camera that they were subscribed to certain telegram-channels, therefore, allegedly, they were detained. People try to protect themselves and unsubscribe from the channels. But they continue to read them, periodically visiting the resources of interest to them.

The second factor is general fatigue from the political agenda, especially in the context of the flow of negative information and arrests. Events that the reader can’t influence. This kind of outflow of users began in the middle of autumn 2020. This can be seen on large channels such as NEXTA or Belarus golovnogo mozga. This is an absolutely natural process, and it is directly connected with the absence of any events.

And the third factor of unsubscribes is technical. Telegram periodically removes old accounts, bots, spam accounts, which can subscribe to 10-30 channels at once, regardless of the format of the channels. Probably, in November-December of this year, Telegram deleted a large number of such accounts, which affected such schedules with an unsubscribe in the top channels. If you pay attention, the pace of unsubscribing slowed down sharply after December 18, 2021.

На русском языке: Время отписок. Что происходит с популярными телеграм-каналами в Беларуси
На беларускай мове: Час адпісак. Што адбываецца з папулярнымі тэлеграм-каналамі ў Беларусі

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