What is VK and Why Should You Care?

Kira KirkGeneral, OSINT

VKontakte (VK) is ranked second globally for social networks, so why haven’t you heard of it? [Tweet this]

VK

If you ask Google ‘What is VK?’ very little comes up. The search results contain articles that often give conflicting information. Most of the links that return are out of date.

To understand what VK is all about, we have to dig a bit deeper than a simple Google search.

What we do know is that VKontakte (or VK for short) is a social media networking site. Like most social media networks you can add friends, gain followers, and post photos of your food and your cat. VK, like Facebook also gives companies the ability to create their own pages for marketing purposes.

VK_social_networking

The standout difference is that VK is geared toward Eastern European users, particularly Russian. In fact, it’s the most popular social media platform in Russia by far. It boasts over 70 million active daily users and 3 billion daily page views.

It should be no surprise, VK is a Russian company. Mail.ru, a Russian Internet titan, owns the social media site.

As a Russian company, it adheres to Russian laws. This is important to note because of the laws surrounding copyright and IP in the country (or lack thereof). A lack of IP constraints enables VK to draw far more than simple inspiration from the best in the business. You’ll find a Facebook-style interface, Foursquare-like check-ins, and even a Pirate Bay type of file-sharing service.

FREELY SHARING AUDIO AND VIDEO FILES IS VERY POPULAR ON VK [Tweet this]

One great thing we learned about VK is how easy it is to create an account. Simply enter a name, phone number, and password, then wait for your validation code and you’re set. If you don’t want to give them a phone number, you can also sign up using your Facebook account. Registering for an account takes about 2 minutes in total.

Once your account is set up, you have the opportunity to fill out an in-depth profile to let your new network know who you are. The basic stuff is there: gender, age, relationship status etc. But there are also fields for whether you smoke, or if you’re military. You can even list your personal priority in a number of important areas: family and children? career and money? entertainment and leisure? fame and influence? improving the world?

What_is_VK

Why Should You Care?

VK is the largest social media networking site in Russia. It’s ranked globally for all social networks, second only to Facebook. It ranks higher than Instagram and Twitter. VK also ranks #5 on the list of all websites available.

VK has become a social media giant but still remains relatively unknown in North America. This is because the majority of users are in Eastern Europe. (VK has more than 60 million Russian users and over 460 million users worldwide. For reference, Facebook only has about 10 million.) There is a major opportunity here just waiting. We can look at it from two sides: what we can tell VK users, or what they can tell us.

What We Can Tell Them

What we can tell them, is related to marketing teams and businesses trying to enter the Eastern European market. Using VK as an engagement platform will show your message to millions of people, mainly located in Russia, on a site they trust enough to use daily.

At Echosec we aren’t experts at breaking into new foreign markets, and we don’t pretend to be (OK, our marketing team sometimes does ). If you’re interested in making more money, and you want to get started in Russian, then check out this article by Gareth Morgan.

We are experts in location-first social media discovery. This brings us to…

What They Can Tell Us

A location is usually monitored because you’re interested in something that could be about to happen, or something that is already happening. In both cases it’s helpful to know who is in the area, what they are up to, who their friends are, what they’re interested in… You get the picture, the more situational awareness you can harness, the better.

VK also has an incredible searching algorithm. This, paired with the in-depth profile that users are encouraged to complete means that finding specific users on the site is easier than you might think.

The information provided by the VK combined with location data from a social media monitoring platform provides indispensable intelligence for businesses and security teams worldwide.

To Wrap it Up

Once you have started to use a location-based social media monitoring tool, you will quickly realize that VK users are everywhere.

VK is one of the largest social media networks in the world. We find posts from the service in almost every Echosec search we do, in every corner of the world. Did you notice the location tag in the cat photo?

Vkontakte

Echosec is an industry-leading data aggregation platform. Combining online content such as social media (including VK), blogs and news with geographic data,

Echosec delivers situational awareness through open source intelligence.

 

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