First Social Media War?

8 Mar

Ukraine Russia Conflict Goes Online

On 24 February, Russia made headlines and changed the course of recent history by invading Ukraine. This war, which caps years of conflict between the two countries over several major issues, is the first armed clash between two developed nations in the internet age and possible the first social media war in history.

As billions of people around the world follow the conflict on social media, the platforms delivering the news have begun  to play a vital role in the war as pressure mounts on Russia to make peace.

A battle fought with tanks – and keyboards

The Ukraine conflict has attracted billions of viewers around the world not only because of its proximity to Europe but also because of the personalities involved. With the world media portraying Vladimir Putin as the villain and Ukrainian president Zelensky as a defiant hero, social media is playing a huge role in the battle for hearts and minds.

Social media companies have realised the power they hold in this history-changing event and have taken steps to support Ukraine and slow down Russia’s progress.

  • Facebook announced that it would demote pro- Russian news articles and posts that seem to contain pro-war propaganda
  • Twitter has been monitoring accounts and removing tweets that spread false misinformation about the war and promote the Russian side
  • Russian TV stations and news networks have been removed from streaming services while also being cut off by traditional media like satellite television providers.

These actions, along with the serious financial sanctions that have been placed on Russia may not end the war overnight, but they certainly have sent a message to Moscow that the world stands against a new war in Europe almost 80 years after the end of World War II.

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