The Russian-Ukrainian conflict unfolds via video clips on social networks


DENVER (KDVR) — The crisis in Ukraine is playing out on social media in ways the world has never really seen. The videos allow the world to experience the invasion in a very different way compared to other major conflicts. The younger generations have never known such a conflict.

The Ukrainians, who shot videos with cellphones, posted on platforms such as TikTok. The short video clips add to the general narrative of what is happening. Throughout history, conflicts have taken place in different media forms.

“With every conflict, there is always new media technology that accompanies that new conflict,” said Eric Fattor, professor of international politics and political theory at Colorado State University.

Fattor points to newspapers at the center of the Spanish-American War and radio during World War I. The film helped audiences understand World War II, and 24-hour cable news coverage was available for modern-day conflicts. Today, social networks are the first source of information. It’s a democratizing tool that people can use to try to separate fact from fiction.

“It’s not just TikTok,” Fattor said. “It’s Twitter, it’s Facebook, it’s Snapchat. It’s all these different social media platforms where this younger generation gets most of their information. »

Social media, however, allows for some unexpected results.

“They will experience the conflict in these very short video clips,” Fattor said. “And the consequence is that maybe they miss the big picture or the longer game of the conflict and just see it as a series of snapshots. This generation…this is their first kind of great power conflict. We haven’t had anything like this since 2003.”

The challenge of sorting out what is real from what is fabricated is also at stake. The United States has accused Russia of promoting disinformation and propaganda. Before social media, stories were “top down” – from a government or a big media company.

Trusted news outlets will help sort fact from fiction. In the world of TikTok and Twitter, we rely on other users to denounce false content. Global scrutiny, especially from the younger generation, promises to expose discrepancies in any narrative, Fattor explained.


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