Many Russians don’t use Facebook even though they have access to this platform. The reason is that they have their local program – VK or VKontakte (meaning “in contact”) which is much better than Facebook.
Personally, I have an account on both of the social nets, but I find VK much more convenient and user-friendly. More than 95 million people agree. So what makes VK so good?
Vk is better than Facebook because it’s much more user-friendly, intuitive, and straight-forward. Unlike FB, it’s more than a social network. It offers much better entertainment options, such as watching serials and movies and listening to music. VK’s built-in apps make user possibilities even larger: with them, you can find what’s in the cinema or even pay for new jeans.
No doubt, Facebook is an awesome global social network and I use it with great pleasure. However, there are some moments where the local Russian Vkontakte surpasses the world giant.
VK is much easier than Facebook
When I first came on Facebook, I couldn’t believe my eyes. How a social net can be so overloaded with information?
As an example, let’s compare the sidebars. When the VK contains only 15 options, written with big letters with wide spaces, on Facebook, I need to search through 26 written with a small font with tiny spaces between the lines.
I understand, that FB wants to show me the variety of its offers, but why do I need to see “Gaming video” among the most important things if I’m not a gamer, “Crisis response” if I don’t live in the area of crisis, and “Fundraisers” if this is not who I am?
This huge amount of unnecessary things looks like a mess when I expect something clear and rational.
A large number of colorful icons and buttons on FB create visual noise when VK’s minimalism looks much more appealing.
VK is more straight-forward
On VK you won’t find any repetitive confusing buttons, whereas on FB you see the same “Message” button several times on one page together with “messages from my page” and a pop-up window when someone is writing to me.
Another example is on Facebook, you can reconnect with those who you’ve unfollowed using preferences on the left or directly through their page. On VK one button leads to one action – no more, and that makes your interaction with the system much clearer.
Less Choice on VK is better
Let’s take the newsfeed adjustment. On VK you have one tiny button “interesting first” and the system will show you the most liked posts in the first place. That’s it.
On Facebook, there are so many options, that you can spend an hour making your newsfeed ideal. Yes, it will be perfect in the end, but is it what you’re ready to put so much time into?
You can watch serials and listen to your favorite music on VK
On Vk, you can find your favorite music, make your playlists, and share tracks with your friends.
For using these options Vkontakte is asking very little money: just $2.50 a month. Of course, the library is not as large as on iTunes or Netflix, but you’ll certainly be able to find the most popular tracks, serials, and movies. Due to strict copyright laws, this option is not available on Facebook.
What’s more important is that you can send these video and audio files to your friends. Heard a cool song? Share it with a friend in one click. Found a new sitcom? Send it to your mom, so that she could watch it right here. On Facebook, you really miss this option.
VK is a great platform for business
VK is a social network for 95 million people, so it’s a huge potential audience for your advertising content as well and buying.
Creating communities on VK is a really intuitive process. I have a public page on Facebook and a group on VK and my user experience says that maintaining a group on VK is much easier, whereas to make a public page on Facebook I had to watch several tutorials on YouTube. If you are a beginner, with a build-in VK app, you can make a complete SMM analysis of your group that can lead to greater profit, in the end.
Professionals say that VK has sharper targeting options. During primary registration, the site offers you to share a range of data about yourself. This means that if you know your customers well (their age, social status and so on…) it’s easier to reach your potential buyer.
VK has built-in apps
VK built-in apps look like a usual app but designed specifically to improve and add additional functions to VK. The management of the platform created rules for developers and every schoolchild can create his own app.
Can you imagine, how far it expands your user possibilities? With the help of built-in apps, you can shop and buy on AliExpress, read your favorite books, sign a petition, pick up the best place to take a loan, or even find a job without leaving VK. I used built-in apps to manage my group in VK and I find it super convenient.
You can pay with VK
VK has also developed a system for providing payments without commission. Imagine PayPal inside Facebook – this is how VK pay looks like. It allows keeping money, transferring between friends, and paying for products.
Facebook had an attempt to move further and to create their crypto-currency, but due to political reasons, this decision was blocked. In Russia, such a step is impossible as well, as virtual money is completely illegal.
Is vk.com a safe site?
Vk.com is a safe site. During the registration, it will ask just your name and a phone number (as Facebook or LinkedIn). It doesn’t require any bank card numbers. It has been approved by web security companies so it’s absolutely safe to join.
Unlike Facebook, Vk never asks to provide your passport data and many users say that it’s far easier to restore the page if it was hacked.
As with any other social network, there’s the possibility of fraud, but it’s doesn’t depend on the platform, but on people who use it. Generally, if you behave reasonably, don’t make password 123456, don’t stay logged in on devices other than yours, don’t disclose your personal information to strangers, you will be fine.
Difference between VK and Facebook
First of all, the main difference is the audience. When Facebook is designed for Westerners, VK is created for Russian speakers and is mostly used in Eastern Europe.
Secondly, the core difference between the two websites is in their content. Facebook is a huge network for people’s communication and news exchange whereas VKontakte contains tons of music, movies, serials, and viral videos.
Will you find a fan community of “The BigBang Theory” on Facebook? Easily. Episodes of the show? Never. The copyright legislation in the US is under great protection. For this reason, FB does not add options that seem so attractive to users.
In Russia, things are very different. Some five years ago it was hard to imagine what could not be found on VK. Anyone could post anything on there, it was a local “Pirate Bay.” However, the rules are becoming more strict and there are now work algorithms that automatically block illegal content.
During this period of total copyright anarchy, Russian users got used to music and video availability so much, that nowadays VKontakte has to work out legal strategies to satisfy these needs. If there isn’t this strong entertaining part, people will likely switch to messengers or other social nets.
And finally, Facebook and VK stick to different strategies. Facebook is a social net place in the first place, while the management of Vkontakte is trying to make the site space where a person does everything: from communicating to watching movies and buying products.
Is Facebook popular in Russia?
Facebook is not very common in Russia, it takes only 7th place. It’s used by 37% of Russians when VK – the major social is used by 83%. Facebook was even left far behind by such messengers as What’sApp and Viber.
Why didn’t Facebook gain that’s much popularity? Except for the reasons, I mentioned above, Russia is a monolingual country and not many people actually need to use this global platform. Personally, I use Facebook mostly to talk to my students and friends from abroad and VK to keep in touch with my Russian friends.
Vk has become a golden standard of social networks in Russia, so it’s quite hard for many people to get used to something in a different user’s environment. The general purposes of the platforms overlap with each other, so there is no need for Russians to change the platform that meets their needs to something else.
Is VK owned by Facebook?
No, Vk is not owned by Facebook. It’s owned by the company Mail.ru Group registered in Russia. Except for Vkontakte, it owes an Internet-portal, two more Russian social nets, and other Internet-based products. The final beneficiary of the company is considered billionaire Alisher Usmanov.
As an average user, I prefer VK more. I find its design and interface more logical and clear. Yes, it lacks some options that Facebook offers, but they are insignificant. Instead, it provides greater functionality: you can watch movies, listen to your favorite music, and buy things in one place.
Are you a VK user? What’s your opinion on this platform? What benefits and downsides do you see in comparison to Facebook? Share in comments below!