Social Media in the Wake of the Ukraine Crisis

Eva Smith, Sentry Staff Reporter

Since February 24, 2022, the Russian military has been actively invading Ukraine, and its effects are being seen around the world. News sources have been reporting story after story about the Ukrainian people, military and leaders. While news outlets around the world have been covering this conflict, many people get their information from social media. The increasing reliance on social media can make news more accessible for everyone, but can also expose people to misleading information. 

Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok have been transformed into primary news sources and activist platforms in the past few years. Many users have started exclusively using these platforms for their news. There has been an influx of information about current events on apps like these. Any user is able to view videos from the frontlines, post infographics or share their own opinions. The rise of social media has increased the role of globalization around the world. This connection has had positive and negative effects on how people view world conflicts. 

The biggest problem that has hit social media in recent years is the spread of misinformation. On platforms such as Twitter, videos, pictures and tweets are constantly being shared and circulated. This means that users can access this content in seconds, but many do not stop to think about the reliability of the information. 

The president of Russia, Vladamir Putin, blocks news sources from other countries. Social media is a way to get through to the Russian people to find out how much they know. Users on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok are able to view real-time videos recorded in Ukraine and Russia. Videos from the frontlines showing the destruction of Ukrainian cities and Russia’s military force have been shared since the beginning of the invasion. 

Social media allows the world to focus on Ukraine, even if Putin does not want people to know the truth. This is a powerful tool that many people are trying to use for good. Users have not only been sharing information about the crisis in Ukraine but also ways to aid people affected by the conflict. By encouraging donations to organizations and spreading awareness about Ukrainians in need, social media can bring the world together for a good cause. 

Users can utilize social media to help Ukrainians who are not able to help themselves, as well as many other people facing crises around the world. Apps like Twitter and Instagram give people a chance to make impactful connections around the world to help those in need.  

While many are aware of the biases that mainstream news outlets display with their content, it is harder to spot bias on social media. Information that people are getting from social media may be false without anyone knowing it. Even in the age of social media, it is hard to verify breaking news in a conflict where information could be distorted. This is why it is important to be able to have multiple sources to check when digesting the news.