Wars happen all the time, from the Arab Spring in Yemen and we have seen how social media influenced the outcome of the war. It has been used as an outlet where activists share news and a place to recruit fighters or spread misinformation. Today, we live during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, we experience war reporting on a more personal and quick manner. Social media has helped emphasised on the high death toll and helped project Ukraine as a nation of fighters, while Russia as a merciless invader. The Russia-Ukraine war is the most recent war and the one where we are so deeply interconnected. It has changed how the way war news were received by the world and how the world is using it as a channel to help the Ukrainians affected by the war.
With the prevalence of social media it has also changed how the way the war was reported to daily. In the past war was reported in news. But ordinary civilians have now taken over the roles of reporting, bringing instant updates through social media platforms such as Tik Tok, reaching out to a larger audience at a wider and faster coverage. This also highlights the interconnectedness in the world and how social media might be pivotal in deciding the outcome of the war and other events. Ms. Magerramova, a doctor in the local Ukrainian documents the civilians streaming in with injuries. and updates the images on Instagram, Facebook, and Telegram with detailed descriptions of what happened to those shown in the pictures (Specia, 2022). This allows information to be disseminated to quickly to the people around the world garnering more awareness almost instantly. Aside from the various efforts from organisations such as Red Cross, stars who have large influence on social media platforms have also used their influence. Ashton Kutcher and Ukraine born Mila Kunis set up a crowdfunding campaign and raised over $36 million USD for the refugees (CNNPLUS, 2022). The involvement of the social media community will allow more
We have also seen social media companies playing their part by implementing certain regulations and features for the Ukrainian community. Meta has updated its Community Help feature to provide information to Ukrainians to seek help from the local UN agencies and Red Cross Societies. This allows Ukrainians to seek help on border crossings and where to get the relevant assistance. Additionally, in order to protect the communities in Ukraine and Russia, Facebook has hidden the followers and following for people based in these 2 countries (Meta, 2022). This helps to remove any association of involved parties. The actions taken by the social media giant is pivotal and impactful on the welfare of the Ukrainians, also spearheading other companies to take part in relief efforts.
As the war progresses, the after-effects and impacts will continue to exponentiate. Social media serves as a platform for the world to be interconnected and helps to raise more awareness for the war. This unity may provide external pressure on Russia, indirectly affecting the direction of the war.