Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Social Media and the war in Ukraine

            As the world moves forward war tactics are continually advancing. One can see this by comparing the wars of today to the world wars. Fighting styles and technologies have changed, leading to changes on battlefields.  In wars today we are seeing social media mentioned more and more often. While social media is not traditionally thought of as an instrument of war, over time it is being seen in war more often. Social media has also instigated wars in the past, the Arab Spring for example, would likely not have been as vast as it was without social media. Now, the world is currently watching the war between Russia and the Ukraine unfold and social media has already been utilized by both sides. So how is social media affecting the war in Ukraine?


            Some have begun to refer to Ukrainian and Russia social media presence as an information war. Both sides are posting glimpses of the war on social media, with the Ukrainians currently having the advantage. Social media has allowed stark and visceral depictions of the war to circulate the world, these social media posts have resonated with people around the world gaining support for Ukraine. Ukraine has been able to use social media to create an image for themselves of morally high and determined people while painting Russia as a ruthless aggressor. While it is true that Russia is the aggressor in this situation their lack of control over their image is hurting their cause. Russia itself is not utilizing social media in the same way that Ukraine is because Moscow is trying to hide the extent of the war. This prevents Russia from being able to portray themselves to the world in a better light. In this way social media has helped Ukraine find support around the world while making Russia look worse than it already did. 


            Aside from portraying an image or garnering support, social media also has other roles in war. Ukraine has used their social media platform to appeal for help around the world and has seen success in recruiting foreigners to help fight this way. Social media has also been used by activists to organize and plan. While none of these methods of social media use are particularly new to war, they do seem to be having a larger and larger impact with each new incident. 

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