The age of the Internet is also the age of misinformation, an issue that has plagued the online world since its inception. While misinformation is always an issue, it’s even more dangerous in times of war. At it turns out, the ongoing Russian attack on Ukraine is already suffering from this issue with popular “Ukraine Footage” consisting of video game footage.
Ukraine Footage is actually ARMA III gameplay
Reported by Bloomberg, some of the most-shared videos relating to the Ukranian conflict are completely doctored clips. Across social media services like Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok, videos marked as “Ukraine Footage” .
Multiple livestreams across Facebook Gaming and Tiktok claimed to be live footage of the conflict. These streams were even adorned with “Breaking News” banners and other realistic decorations. However, the footage was actually footage from the realistic video game ARMA III.
A bit-crushed video of the game showed a jet issuing a bombing run as anti-air guns attempt to shoot it down. This video was purposefully edited to make the footage lower quality and, therfore, more realistic.
One of the largest streams on Facebook Gaming has over fifty-two thousand concurrent viewers. The top-five streams on the platform were all low-quality videos of ARMA III passed off as real wartime footage.
One of the most popular ARMA III clips being passed as Ukranian Footage.
Misinformation at its worst
The ongoing spread of misinformation doesn't purely consist of doctored videos, although that is rampant on video-centric media platforms. Alongside these, services such as Telegram have also been heavily targeted with faux news.
Anonymous users and bots have been discovered sharing fabricated news and pro-russian propaganda in group channels. One channel claimed that the CIA has been training neo-nazi terror groups in Ukraine. Another said that Ukranian police were providing intelligence to Russian forces.
Some users have gone as far as to offer money to people in Ukraine willing to set buildings and cars on fire to kickstart civilian terror. Others have posted horrifically graphic videos and pictures claiming to be of Ukranian citizens without any evidence, likely fear mongering.
These practices are only possible due to the lack of regulation and moderation on social platforms. Despite many years of existence, social media still does little to combat mass misinformation, especially in countries other than the United States.