Ukraine videos show with vivid realism that social media is how we see war now

Uploaded with urgency but viewed with skepticism because of misinformation efforts, social media none the less has become the definitive first draft of history.
Can Emir
IE photo illustration showing various video thumbnails uploaded from Twitter accounts in Ukraine in the past 24 hours.

For all its volatility, social media posting during conflict, known in an earlier era by the more academia-friendly term citizen journalism, has become the most trusted source of raw information. As some media outlets eschew journalism in favor of content that feels more like propaganda, cell phone video from Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok has become the new first draft of history. Even with misinformation attempts, social media is how most of the world understands war.

The ballooning invasion of Ukraine by Russian military is the most potent example yet of how social media is used to document conflict, if it's not fomenting revolution.

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According to a recent Gallup survey, the percentage of U.S. citizens with no trust in the mass media hit a record high in 2020: Only 9 percent of respondents said they trust the mass media "a great deal" and a full 60 percent said they have little to "no trust at all" in it.

The Edelman Trust Barometer 2021 report points out that 56 percent of Americans agree with the statement that journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things that they know are false, and 58 percent think that most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology than with informing the public.

As a new crisis is at hand, with the Russian military striking inside the Ukrainian border after months of troop build-up, we're witnessing Europe's "darkest hours" since World War II, in the words of one EU foreign affairs leader.

Most of us witnessing these events will get our news from social media sources instead of media outlets, which might thread in propaganda or present the news from an openly biased perspective.

Using Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook is only one part of a balanced media diet, even with the pitfalls of misinformation. Below are the videos that show how the war is playing out on phones across the globe:

A video of Ukrainian troops shooting down a Russian Su-25 attack aircraft that was trying to break through from Belarus.

Footage from Gostomel airfield near Kyiv shows military helicopters flying towards a recently bombed area.

A social media post sharing an airfield is being shelled in Melitopol.

A video showing destroyed Russian tanks on the side of the road.

Footage of Russian aircrafts, MiG-29 and Su-25 flying near Kyiv.

Russian tanks wandering around Okhtyrka Sumy Region.

Russian airstrike in the city of Melitopol.

Another video of a Russian airstrike near Kyiv.

Footage of a damaged Russian helicopter, which was probably shot down by Ukrainian forces.

Footage of destroyed Russian military equipment on the way to Kharkiv.

A Russian helicopter getting shot in the city of Gostomel.

Another video of the Russian military making its way to the city of Oleshki, Kherson region, Ukraine.

Explosions were heard in the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Helicopters shooting air to land missiles in the city of Gostomel. 

We will see how media outlets write their stories about the Russian occupation in Ukraine after seeing the social media posts shared by Ukrainian citizens and local news sources.

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