Information campaign on Twitter uses Israel to lie about Ukraine: how to fight it
Everyone knows that Twitter, due to Elon Musk’s decision, has turned into an environment conducive to disinformation (and the EU even conducted a research about it). Now, with the escalation of war in the Middle East, accounts spreading anti-Ukrainian ideas are using it to reduce support for Ukraine. AIN.Capital tells how we can resist this information campaign.
What harmful ideas spread
Among the most obvious ideas that are deliberately spread during this campaign: they say that the atrocities of Hamas in Israel show that Russia in Ukraine is fighting with restraint, and that the horrors of war against Ukraine are exaggerated. Or they even question the very reality of our war, and, unfortunately, this is done not only by paid Russian bots but also by very much real opinion leaders.
For example, Donald Trump Jr.’s tweet that he has not seen as many confirmations of the war in Ukraine as in a few days of the war in Israel.
This tweet shows well why it is important for Ukrainians not to stand aside now. This tweet with a blatantly false manipulative claim implying “exaggeration” of Ukrainians suffering from Russia’s attack has nearly 90,000 likes. GeoConfirmed’s replay of the same thread, which proves Trump Jr. is lying, has 18,600 likes. Lies in such cases almost always win refutation in terms of likes and coverage, because the audience loyal to the opinion leader primarily likes and distributes such tweets.
There are other malicious messages, from known and unknown accounts with “blue checkmarks”. It is duplicated almost verbatim in dozens, if not hundreds of such accounts and presents the audience with the idea that they say, imagine if Russia committed such atrocities in Ukraine, from a photo of the destroyed Gaza. Ukrainians do not need to imagine: they know that Russia used all types of weapons, except nuclear, and committed all types of war crimes. However, the Western audience does not always know about it. A few examples, along with examples of criticism of such posts:
There are a lot of such or similar messages, and it is expected that they reflect the opinions of propagandist Russian television.
That’s why, it is important to this information campaign.
How to resist them
If you speak English and have time for it, it is worth joining in refuting such messages. There may be several options for how to do this (examples are in the tweets above):
- If there are grounds in the message, file a complaint against it on Twitter for calls for genocide or violence.
- Adding context with evidence via Community Notes is one of the few Twitter features that came under Musk that could be useful. This is the context added below the tweet with evidence that the message contains misinformation or incomplete information. You can try to register in this community (what is Community Notes and how to register there, you can read here). And you can tag it to draw attention to a malicious tweet (@CommunityNotes).
- You can repost or retweet under such messages, but you should consider that direct interaction with them will increase their “visibility”. That is why, in some examples in the previous section, Ukrainian users share screenshots of messages, and not the messages themselves.
- If you have no ideas, you can see what other users do and help them to destroy these messages.