Be wary of social media misinformation on Russia-Ukraine conflict: experts
Social media is emerging as a key battleground in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, say experts who warn that Canadians should be on the lookout for digital deceptions and propaganda.
People around the world are glued to their screens checking for updates as Russia’s full-scale military assault on Ukraine rages on, stoking concerns about how the war will reverberate across the geopolitical order.
But Ukrainian-Canadian journalist and researcher Jane Lytvynenko warns that social media provides a muddled and often misinformed view of how the conflict is unfolding between the challenges of tracking a fast-changing crisis in real time and deliberate efforts to distort the situation.
“There’s a huge amount of confusion and attempts to untangle what is going on on the ground with this escalation,” said Lytvynenko, a senior research fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.
“The situation is changing minute by minute, and the information is changing with it.”
Lytvynenko said social media has served as a vital platform for people to share the realities of what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine and rally humanitarian aid, but the warp-speed spread of disinformation is thickening the digital fog of war.
Misleading messages, propagandized headlines, deceptively edited videos and out-of-context photos are circulating across the digital sphere, manipulating millions of people’s perceptions of the war.
U.S. authorities have accused Moscow of mounting a disinformation campaign including a plot to produce a propaganda video showing a fake Ukrainian attack to create a pretext for Russian military action against its neighbour.