With the recent revelations that the NSA is doing something (and though we all disagree on the particulars, we at least agree that they’re doing something in secret that needs a huge-ass datacentre), countries building their own versions of popular sites makes a lot of sense. Baidu, VK, etc.
The narrative that I’ve seen mostly centres around the rights of Americans and whether or not those are being sidestepped or not.
The fact remains that as a non-American, as far as the NSA is concerned, I have no rights. The could store all the data I send to Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc, forever, index it, make it public, whatever. There’s probably a vanishingly small chance of this happening, but you never know.
For non-US users of large Facebook sites, not only are these large companies possibly mining our data, but the NSA is potentially doing the same. The difference being I can opt out of Google, Twitter, Facebook, all these things, but I can’t opt out of the NSA. I can’t even protest it.
There’s a problem here, where we have a jurisdiction applying local law to a world-wide network. And short of changing the way the world works, or encrypting the entire internet (and strengthening endpoints!), or building a giant firewall around the US, the fact will remain that as a non-US citizen, I am entitled no protection.