Russia-Ukraine conflict, a war on information on Tiktok

Russia-Ukraine conflict, a war on information on Tiktok

Russia-Ukraine conflict

As in previous conflicts, the eyes of the world return to social networks. This time, TikTok is the tool used by Ukrainian civilians to show the world the truth about the Russian attack.

Armed conflicts are also digital. We all have a mobile phone with a camera, we all record images and sharing them is an instant gesture. In 2022, any event is broadcast in real time. It is inevitable.

And if on the one hand Moscow maneuvers the media, with a communication line designed to control public opinion from television to newspapers, up to RuNet (the Russian-language segment of the Internet) , TikTok seems to have remained the only direct link to what is happening.

Social networks had already played a fundamental role in the military and political conflicts of recent years: they did so in the Arab Spring, in the resumption of tensions between Israel and Palestine and the return to power of the Taliban.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_altra_d_mh2_1"). is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_altra_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_altra_d_mh2 "); } And this time too, cell phone cameras are once again a valuable source of prospects, as they have enabled millions of TikTok users to experience the beginning of the Russian invasion right from the skin of Ukrainian civilians.

A convoy of Ukrainian armored vehicles demolishing barricades in the middle of the city, Russian military exercises on the border, a threatening nuclear bomb much more destructive than that of Hiroshima ... These are the protagonists of some of the videos that have gone viral days on TikTok.

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Several Western experts question images (the sound of gunshots in a video, for example, would be copied from an older video taken from YouTube); they believe that Moscow's complaints were a pretext to justify the sending of troops to the region, which took place on Monday.

Today, more than ever, it is difficult to understand where the truth is, because everyone can publish, comment and write, and several do so in bad faith in search of popularity. This is why we ask you before spreading news to do a job that should be that of a journalist: check the sources. Do not spread news before verifying the source, the provenance.

"Selene I wanted to ask you something else, I have seen a lot of fake news on the net, please inquire well, there are too many fake news, inquire well" - these are the words of a Ukrainian girl in contact with the writer .

Embassies, Boris Johnson turn to Chinese social media to mediate Russia-Ukraine conflict

HONG KONG — In the leadup to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the international war of words found an unusual battlefield: Chinese social media.

Earlier this week, the Ukrainian Embassy in China took to Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, to criticize Russia for recognizing the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. Since then, the invasion by Moscow has drawn global condemnation.

“We insist on tough sanctions against Russia to send a clear signal that no further escalation is allowed,” the Ukrainian Embassy said in a Chinese-language statement on Tuesday that received almost 800,000 likes in two days. “It is time to act to end Russian aggression and restore peace and stability in Europe.”

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Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempted to defuse Ukraine tensions with a Weibo post urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to engage in dialogue.

“We are on the edge of a cliff, but President Putin still has time to step back and think,” Johnson wrote in Chinese on Feb. 15.

Johnson’s post had received 1.66 million likes by Wednesday evening, before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. But it drew a sharp response from the Russian Embassy in China, which called it “utterly absurd.”

The Downing Street statement “is designed to further inflame the hysteria surrounding the so-called imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the embassy said in a Weibo post on Feb. 16, which by Wednesday evening had drawn comparatively few likes at 40,000.

Other Weibo users saw an opportunity for jokes, asking Johnson if there would be another season of the BBC TV series “Sherlock Holmes.”

Following British leaders before him, Johnson has been posting on Weibo since 2020, using an official account established by the prime minister’s office in 2013. His last post was during the U.N. climate change conference in November, when China and the United States pledged to work together on the issue.

But some Weibo users expressed surprise that officials would debate the Ukraine issue so visibly on that platform, where embassies typically post about relations with China or the culture and history of their home countries.

“I did not expect that I could see an international event escalating on Weibo,” one user wrote in the top-ranked comment on the Ukrainian Embassy’s statement. 

The rise of China may have prompted the West to be more inclined to view the Ukraine crisis as a product of cooperation between China and Russia, according to Yang Cheng, a professor who researches Russian foreign relations at Shanghai International Studies University.

The two countries have been forging closer ties, and Yang said other world leaders may think they can resolve the Ukraine crisis by appealing to China.

“The widespread idea of associating the Ukraine crisis with the Taiwan issue, as well as calling for an extension of sanctions to China by U.S. politicians — all suggest the West perceives China and Russia are in the same camp,” Yang said, referring to fears that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may embolden China in its territorial claims on the self-governing island of Taiwan.

In a phone call on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Putin that Beijing’s position on the Ukraine conflict was “based on the merits of the matter concerned” and that he supported talks between Russia and Ukraine. At a news briefing the same day, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China would continue to promote peace and urge talks in its own way, and “welcomes and encourages all efforts to advance a diplomatic solution.”

Another possibility behind the Weibo posts, Yang said, is that countries are attaching more importance to China and therefore feel a greater urgency to explain their positions in the Chinese-speaking world.

“Their voices can be heard in the Western world as the English-speaking world is dominated by the Western media,” he said. “However, China’s role in global affairs has grown increasingly.”

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