Russia’s biggest telecoms provider on Friday pleaded with clients to stop sending coronavirus memes and viral videos, as networks began to overload as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Memes and keeping in good spirits are important, but it is important to be responsible about using content online,” MTS President Alexei Kornya said in a statement on the company’s website.

“I’m not saying you should stop watching films online or participate in video conferences for work,” he said.

But he called on Russians to “refrain from sending around funny but ‘heavy’ videos via messengers to dozens of contacts,” straining the telecoms infrastructure.

MTS has 80 million clients in Russia and has seen a “considerable increase in the load on the network,” mostly in large cities, particularly Moscow, Kornya said.

Russia has not ordered a mandatory lockdown, but many companies switched to telecommuting earlier this month to lower the risk of coronavirus infection.

The Internet has exploded with coronavirus-related memes worldwide as face-to-face contacts have decreased because of lockdowns and quarantines.

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