Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Monday, Oct 02, 2023

How to spot false posts from Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has triggered a wave of falsehoods on social media and the airwaves. In a new Radio 4 podcast series, War on Truth, our specialist reporter follows the stories of people caught up by misinformation - and gives some tips about how to avoid it.

Since the war began, my inbox has been flooded with messages from people telling me about misleading videos on their social media feeds and troll accounts promoting conspiracy theories.

And it's not just on social media - it's also state-sponsored propaganda pushing false claims on air and beyond.
In a new podcast series, I'll be reporting on the information battle being waged over Ukraine - and hearing from the ordinary people sucked into it.

How can you spot bad information - and stop its spread?

1. Watch out for old and misleading videos

There are very real, distressing videos being shared of what's happening on the ground in Ukraine. But there is also footage from old conflicts going viral. Often people share it because they're shocked - or even trying to help. But it's just adding to the chaos for those in the country.

The best way to figure out if a video is real or not is to look for clues - like the weather, the road signs, the languages people are speaking.

Videos of Russia's invasion of Crimea and from the blast in Beirut in 2020 have been shared widely, pretending to be from the current conflict.

Using Google Maps, you can figure out if the video is really from where it claims to be. And by using reverse image searches - available from a number of websites - you can see if that same video or image has been shared online before. That's a tell tale sign that it's been recycled from a previous event.

2. Who is sharing it - and why?

It's important to examine who shared a post in the first place. Can you verify who they are - and are they a trusted source?

Those who have posted misleading videos are sometimes looking for likes and shares. It's a distressing time - and posts about what's happening in Ukraine are likely to catch on. Others are sharing false claims to push certain narratives - to boost their political agendas or to sow doubt and confusion.

Several young people in the country have told me about pro-Russia accounts which argue with Ukrainians, suggesting without any proof that the war is "staged" or Ukraine is bombing its own territory.

One man I interviewed explained to me that even pictures of his home near Kyiv totally destroyed by bombs couldn't convince these trolls. Many of them have few or no followers, have taken their profile image from other places online and use generic usernames. They also only started to post after the invasion began. It's hard to tell who ultimately is running these accounts.

Other accounts that have promoted false claims about the Covid pandemic have turned their attention to sharing false conspiracy theories about the war. The same false tropes - for instance that those injured by bombing are "actors" - have come up again and again, and have even been pushed by Russian diplomats.

3. Pause before you share

A lot of what's on social media about the war is frightening. It triggers a reaction - and that means people sometimes share posts before checking if they're real. Disinformation spreads because it plays on our emotions and our biases.

It's not just about negative emotions - sometimes hopeful stories can also go viral. While they may boost morale, they contribute to the chaos online and make it harder to figure out what's actually happening.

The information war is about more than social media. It's a battle fought by governments in both Ukraine and Russia, which are pushing out propaganda. Question why a particular source might be saying something - and whether it's backed up by evidence.


Related Articles

Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner