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Russian internet giant hopes Twitter clone outstrips original

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It might sound like the name of a hi-tech underwear maker, but Futubra is the name of a social network its owners are dubbing “the Russian Twitter.”

Designed by – the multibillion Russian company that operates the country’s most popular email service and several successful social networks – the service hopes to follow the success of non-English-language Twitter clones around the world. In China, there are over two hundred million users of Chinese-language microblogging sites.

Although Twitter has been translated into Russian, it only has 2 million users, despite being a favorite form of communication for outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev.

Futubra says that easier functions for posting photos and videos, not just messages, will give it an advantage over its formidable rival. All content is public, and users can subscribe to any account without needing confirmation.

While registering for Futubra is easy and the site has a clean, bright interface, as expected, there is almost no content so far. As with any social network, the success of Futubra will depend on whether Russians take to the new service in sufficient numbers to create a vibrant community – but with the might of behind it, few in Russia are betting against the new service.