Misinformation Battle in the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Misinformation became one of the major strategies of the Russians while they continue their attack on Ukraine. Russia leads its disinformation campaign among millions of its people in the first place, trying to persuade everyone that they rescue people by killing them. While for the whole world the situation is pretty obvious, disinformation about “mighty” Russia and its military is still the key point in the discussion of whether they should interfere or not.
The unpredicted invasion of Russian troops became the most discussed topic in social media around the world. It revealed the lack of protective measures against misinformation. After many years of concerns that social media can easily change the state of mind sending repetitive messages, we finally received the answer. It appears that disinformation can change the actions the world takes. Harmful messages can affect the war.
The very same messages prove the importance of using social media as a major tool of propaganda. They can significantly ease the life of Ukrainian citizens who want to get in touch with their families and friends from abroad. Social networks like TikTok can be used to show real video footage from Ukraine. It can send doubts to many Russians who have families in Ukraine and can’t trust even them. While the Russian government closes the country from social networks, it makes everyone guess whether the lack of true information would not be a disaster for the country.
Facebook and Twitter decided to leave Russia after there was noticed gigantic fake propaganda from Russians. After both social networks announced they don’t want to spread fake news based on Russian demand, they were cut off. With the limited information from outside and constant Putin’s propaganda on TV, many Russians believe that their president made the right decision by invading Ukraine. They don’t believe that Ukraine lives in peace with both Ukrainian speaking and Russian speaking, covering their eyes on thousands killed in Ukraine. Russia attacked main Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine, like Kharkiv, Sumy, and even Kyiv. They attacked their own churches of Moscow patriarchy and destroyed them to the ground.
We are not sure whether Russians are blind or just don’t care about hundreds and thousands dead in Ukraine, mainly civilians, old people, women, and young children. The world community hopes that the main population of Russia may be unaware of the real situation, but with families and friends from outside and level of protests, it is possible that common citizens are afraid to speak out. Kremlin propaganda continues its spread around the country.
Social media can’t do anything about the spread of information. All they can do is either stop their activity immediately or continue to spread fakes from Kremlin propaganda. This is why they decided to cut Russians off the network. The information they receive now is under the control of their government, since all the channels that were in opposition to Putin were closed, a popular tactic in Russia.
Nowadays Facebook and Twitter have already been restricted by the Russian government and left the country. TikTok and YouTube were also banned. There are still ways for a few streamers that oppose Putin to get to the audience. Reddit has banned any links to Russia. Snapchat, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube banned ads that came from Russian organizations. Western social media currently are unreachable for Russians.
Do you think that social networks from the West could change the mind of ordinary Russians? Do you agree with decisions made by social networks? You can share your thoughts in the comments below.