The Uzbek government has launched another state-run social media site, Davra.uz.
The site, which gained nearly 6,000 registered users within its first week, was developed by Uzinfocom, a state-owned IT development centre with the support of the Information Technologies and Communications Development Ministry of Uzbekistan. Although Davra.uz is the 38th social networking site to be created by the Uzbek authorities, it is one of only eight currently in operation.
Writing for Institute for War & Peace Reporting, Inga Sikorskaya affirms that this development is indicative of a broader attempt by the government to gain control of the internet within the country, adding that this approach represents a response to the popularity of social media among the Uzbek population.
Ms Sikorskaya cites statistics from market researchers J’son & Partners which estimate that the number of social media users in Uzbekistan grew by 40 per cent every year between 2010 and 2014, the highest rate of any of the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Foreign social networks, such as the American Facebook and Russian Odnoklassniki, enjoy a greater popularity than local sites. The creation of new state-run sites hints at an attempt by the regime to encourage social media to leave foreign networks in favour of local alternatives, which are far easier to monitor and control.