Social Media Gives Confounding View To Russian War On Ukraine

February 25, 2022

By Adam

A friend approached Eslam Mmadouh, desperate to help him. Would Mamdouh drive him 340 miles west to Lviv, a city near Ukraine’s border with Poland? Mamdouh agreed, though the young nursing student has been reluctant to leave the relative safety of the county’s capital during the ongoing Russian invasion. The troop movements of the troops have not been easy to follow. Most of the fighting—the largest in Europe since World War II—seems further east, nearer Russia.) They loaded into Mamdouh’s tiny white Ford and headed out of town around 5 as Mamdouh continued to do what he’s done for the past several days: chronicle the whole thing on Snapchat, including public posts to the app’s Map function, which allows anyone in the world to zoom over to a place and watch videos uploaded from there.

Mamdouh was able to reach him via Snap Call while stuck in traffic. He quickly switched the camera’s view from one that pointed directly at him to the highway. “You see, you see?” he asks. Up ahead, in the distance—soldiers. “The army is everywhere now,” he says. “Everywhere.” For now, Mamdouh believes, the uniformed figures in Kyiv are Ukranian forces. The prospect of them soon confronting their Russian counterparts on Kyiv’s streets leaves Mamdouh undeterred from his plan. “I’m going to take my friend, and then I’m going back,” he says, prepared for more evenings huddled beneath ground in the subway, as Londoners did a century earlier during the Blitz. As someone who grew up in Egypt, he says that the sight of armed conflict is quite familiar to him.

Really, ever since the Arab Spring swept through Mamdouh’s homeland more than a decade ago, social media has continued to offer a complex window to world events, presenting access we once could expect only through cable news. Television’s perspective was limited and carefully researched. Apps like Snap, Telegram and TikTok offer a much wider view of what is happening through the on-the ground posts of average citizens, such as Mamdouh.

However, it isn’t a journalism broadcast. It produces personal missives such as the Snap ones Mamdouh offered and mixed with misinformation. Snap Maps, however, is a rare exception. It is geotagged so you have greater assurance that they are there and not just a few hundred miles away. There are two types of misinformation: some intentionally spread and others that happen unintentionally. The same result is still achieved. We get an enlarged picture of situations like the one unfolding in Ukraine, grander than what we could’ve gotten before, but it’s one in which it can be difficult to limn the difference between the real and the fake.

Probably the greatest difference between social media use in Ukraine and previous conflicts is the country’s reliance on Telegram, an app with 400 million users worldwide …read more

Source:: Social Media Explorer