(U//FOUO) U.S. State Department Social Media Landscape: Belarus

The Internet and social media are in early stages of development in Belarus. The lack of infrastructure and the cost of access mean that the online community is characterized by affluent, educated middle classes from the metropolitan areas of the country (especially Minsk). Internet in Belarus has not yet achieved the penetration necessary to be socially representative. Despite the accessibility challenges, social media are still proving popular, particularly amongst younger demographics. Online information sources and especially social media, promise an impartiality that is often lacking in Belarusian mass media channels, which many consider to be overly influenced by the national government. From a political point of view, this has meant that opposition parties have been swifter to experiment with online engagement to gain public support, although their use of social media as strategic tool for campaigning is still relatively experimental.