Ukraine: have the social networks risen to the challenge of Putin’s war?

On the face of it, yes. Meta’s WhatsApp has been the main means for people in Ukraine and, as crucially, in Russia to find out what’s actually going on in the Russian invasion – despite the efforts of Vladimir Putin’s totalitarian regime to stifle all information and comment.

The encrypted messaging service (hitherto widely criticised for allowing politicians to keep their dirty doing private) has been a ray of light in the murkiest of conflicts.

Meta’s Facebook too seems to have acted promptly to remove a job lot of fake Russian accounts, one of the Kremlin’s favourite wheezes from the home of computer hacking.

Facebook, of course, has been castigated for allowing the Russians and others to interfere in US elections. It’s obviously tying harder now to distinguish the wheat from the chaff. Nick Clegg’s doing?

Twitter too has been a way for the Ukraine government and military to communicate swiftly with the people.

Is social media having a good war? Given the historic ability of Facebook and others to shoot themselves in the foot it might be a touch early to make such a judgement. But it’s an improvement.

PS Donald Trump should be grateful he no longer has a Twitter account (and his own alternative doesn’t work.) The Donald initially praised Putin although he changed his tune after the aides in white coats persuaded him to take a lie down. Even Republican die-hards must agree that such a nutter in charge of the US would be global disaster.

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