Line and Instagram stand out as two of the hottest social apps in Thailand. Line is the dominant messenging platform in the nation, with over 33 million registered users. Messaging with Line has become so quotidien – one entrepreneur told me about how her mother operates several Line groups for her various circles of friends – that the app has emerged as arguably the most trusted channel of interaction outside a physical encounter.
Users started reporting they were able to access Instagram over the weekend. Tech in Asia staff stationed on the mainland confirmed the app is no longer blocked, though sometimes images won’t load or only partially load. Whether or not it works might depend on your internet service provider and location.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, the first Indian head of state to wake up to the possibilities of social media in politics, made his Instagram debut yesterday. He posted a photograph of the ASEAN Summit venue in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, and in less than 24 hours found 94,621 (and counting) followers. Currently, Modi is India’s most-followed politician on Twitter with 7.82 million followers. It’s hard to believe that in January 2009 when he entered Twitter, it had gone almost unnoticed.
China’s internet is littered with companies that thrive in part thanks to the country’s strict censorship. Baidu, Weibo, and Youku are now web giants due to blocks put in place on Google, Twitter, and Youtube. The popular western photo sharing social network Instagram has eluded the Great Firewall until recently, operating freely and successfully in the Middle Kingdom. But the site and app became inaccessible from China starting near the end of September this year, likely due to the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that earned the ire of Beijing officials.
We’re seeing reports from users on Twitter that Instagram has been blocked in mainland China. It’s likely due to the protests happening in Hong Kong. Citizens in Hong Kong are protesting the government in Beijing to allow them to practice “full democracy.” If Instagram is blocked in China as the Twitter reports indicate, it’s likely to keep images of the protest, which include police firing tear gas at demonstrators, from spreading.
Instagram has launched an app designed after Snapchat. The online mobile photo and video sharing and social networking service released an app called Bolt on Tuesday. It’s Instagram’s first venture into speedy and ephemeral one-to-one video and photo-messaging. The company launched Bolt on Android and iOS in New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa. Technology website TechCrunch said Instagram is testing the app in these English-speaking and Instagram-fluent countries before rolling it out in the United States.
We love social media in Thailand. There are 24 million users on Facebook. The country’s Twitter activity increased last year. On Instagram, Thailand hosts one the most Instagramed place in the world. Thailand now has 1.5 million Instagram users, according to data from Zocial Inc. The company behind ZocialRank, which monitors social media trends in the country, has came up with an infographic (embedded below) showing more details about Instagram’s users in Thailand.