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Scrutinise the Facts

My previous post about media responsibility has triggered a lot of discussion about what we see and hear, particularly from those with personal connections to Ukraine.

My point was to show that there are other sides to the story, and definitely not to side with a dictator nor the West. So, as an appendix to that post, here is Reuters Fact Check reports about some information being bandied about on social media about Ukraine.

Video Game Manipulation Presented as News Facts

Some reports and images are captioned incorrectly date from 8 years ago, some are from other conflicts, not Ukraine and some are even sourced from video games.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

SCRUTINISE WHAT YOU READ

Reuters Fact Check

Social media users are sharing a fabricated story about a CNN journalist allegedly killed in Ukraine amid Russia’s recent invasion. The posts are claiming CNN shared a tweet about the man’s death amidst the ongoing crisis in Ukraine after sharing the same story during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. But no such stories were posted by the news outlet and the screenshotted tweets come from unverified Twitter accounts posing as CNN pages. 12:03pm EST

A photograph circulating online of an injured girl is from 2018 and was taken during the Syrian war, not Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as users claim. 11:52am EST

Photos and a video captured during the 2014 Maidan protests in Ukraine have been shared on social media in February 2022 to falsely claim they depict the invasion by Russia. 10:04am EST

A photo of two children watching Ukrainian soldiers roll past atop two tanks has been falsely linked to the 2022 invasion by Russia. However, Reuters has traced the photo back to 2016. 7:49am EST

A military simulation clip from the video game Arma 3 is being shared online alongside misleading captions linking the footage to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Feb 25 2022

A stock image described as showing a female Ukrainian soldier has been shared on social media, with users falsely claiming it is Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine. 10:52am EST

A clip from the video game Digital Combat Simulator has been miscaptioned online, with social media users claiming it shows a Ukrainian fighter jet shooting down a Russian plane. Feb 25 2022

A clip of artillery fire from what looks like a military camp in low light is unrelated to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and dates to at least 2019, despite the clip being shared widely by social media users online. Feb 25 2022

A video shared online of a warehouse exploding was captured in Beirut in 2020, in an incident that killed more than 200 people. Contrary to claims being circulated, it does not show events from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Feb 25 2022

Then there was the Why Ukraine Matters Facebook post that went viral that listed more than 30 reasons in the world economy as to “why Ukraine matters., listing significant mineral and resources weath..

Why Ukraine Matters Viral Post

Snopes.com reported:

Much of the data included in the viral “why Ukraine matters” posts were true. Some of the items on the list had become outdated, but more recent numbers still showed that the country had a strong standing in various categories of reserves, production, and exports. However, we were unable to find figures to confirm a few of the claims, and a small number of them were flat-out false.

Snopes.com

Comments

I love comments from anyone but would dearly love this forum to be respectful of others’ opinions, even if you do not agree with them, so please bear that in mind if you are feeling especially emotional. If you are a troll or repeatedly rude, your comment will, unfortunately, have to be trashed.

Something to Ponder About

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38 thoughts on “Scrutinise the Facts”

  1. So you’re saying the media ought to fact-check their information? Gasp! That used to be a big part of the news. Maybe it still is. Somewhere. I mean, there were people with jobs called Fact Checkers.

    But if you’re expecting people to fact-check the news they read? Good luck. I’ve never been able to get friends to do a simple search on the email glurge they had to send me, “just in case.” Some even told me that I should check the facts because they didn’t have time. I do my best to rely on supposedly reputable sources and never, ever, believe anything on social media. But that’s me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fact checking on social media is non-existent since most people just quickly want to jump on the ‘what’s popular’ news wagon! And the crazy part is that it usually takes about 2-3 minutes to confirm on Google whether what you are sharing is for real or not. I’ve had to correct my dad so many times when he forwards messages without fact checking.

    Praying for peace in Ukraine!

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    1. You are so right, Happy Panda. It takes very little of your screen time to fact check something. Whether that be from a variety of sources, or via snopes.com or another reputable fact checker. We shall continue to correct the Dads of this world who unreservedly believe anything they read just because it has been on the internet.

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  3. Well done on fact checking. It is a huge issue that most people don’t. As for the ‘why Ukraine matters’ info doing the round on social media, what a stupid post. Ukraine matters because people should be able to choose their own government, independent from the wishes of any other country. It doesn’t matter how many resources a country does or doesn’t have, freedom is essential to creating an equitable and just world.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You always have a way of cutting through the crap to what the core message actually is. So true that resources or no resources, a country has the right to freedom, self-determination and independence. One has to also question the mental status of a leader fixated on exploiting another country through military means.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Most people don’t and that includes me, in normal circumstances. I really don’t feel you should need to and expect news to be honest, though my cynical husband never does. Social media though, I try to avoid. It’s emotive, not factual, Sad old world, isn’t it? In all of this I just hope that the vast majority of Ukraine citizens are unharmed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We ‘should not need to’ is sadly an ideal, Jo. We appear to need a healthy scepticism nowadays. I would love the world to be as honest as you think it should be, but our society is diverse. Untruths and falsehoods pay off for some people some of the time. Especially in social media posts.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Unfortunately, it’s only the respected news sources that make a point of fact-checking, and announcing the sources of their information. And apologising of they get it wrong. Social media, unencumbered by such responsibilities has a lot to answer for, and for me, definitely best avoided. The BBC regularly runs ‘fact checking’ reports in its news coverage.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good on the BBC for fact checking, Margaret. It is good to hear. Some of our Aussie ABC current affairs programs are similarly reliable. I think Social media is like the neighbourhood grapevine on steroids. Without filter or tact, it is just hearsay, legitimised if someone else has published it. Clicks are prioritised over reported posts and complaints. No conscience=no sense. Or Nonsense!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As Margaret says, the BBC is generally very good at fact-checking so I rely on them for my news not social media. That isn’t to say I don’t use the latter, I do – Facebook in particular keeps me connected to my many Virtual Tourist friends around the world, including two in Ukraine (with one of whom I’m in daily contact at the moment). But when people share anything that I suspect may not be accurate I find Snopes a wonderful resource.

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    1. It is good to keep in touch with your VT Ukraine friends as I imagine they would need a lot of support atm. Social media does have a place, as you say Sarah, but it is like a wild Brumby, untamed and without restraints making it easier to get kicked!
      I still enjoying getting updates from friends in Scandinavia via fbook, otherwise these long distance friendships would quickly fade. My interactions however are now very limited compared to previous years.

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  7. On social media there are so many emotional people latching onto the latest unpleasantness to hit the world that fact checking is a necessity when their ‘group think’ and ‘will to believe’ leads them to post an item without pausing to check its veracity.
    There are websites I generally trust, though still aware that checking is necessary, but where the mainstream media is concerned it worries me that all too often comment and opinion is clothed as fact, as, for example, incident A happened – true – but is presented as the basis for an opinion piece which hangs on the truth of incident A for its validation.

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    1. You’ve summed it up well, Helen. I learnt my lesson years ago about posting without checking the veracity of the post and discovered snopes.com. Fbook makes it far too easy to click share without pausing to remember you are sharing a headline of unknown authenticity, not the message of the whole article! Perhaps it would help slightly if the share button was embedded at the end of the article?
      It is the opinion piece draped in fact I have most issue with and a point I was attempting to make, (somewhat unsuccessfully), in my previous post. I get annoyed when I hear young reporters talking about what ‘seems,’ to be happening! -i.e. their opinion and analysis of a situation. They are usually a very good-looking 20 something male who has limited experience of the world who sees things differently from someone who is older. They can skew the report in unimaginable ways! It is hard to watch and I usually turn it off or walk away in disgust.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for seizing the point I was trying to make….but these people have the power of mass communication behind them…unchecked! If you know something of the background then you know their contribution is worthless…but if not, then they have power.

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  8. Not to mention all the photos that have been digitially altered! They are getting hard to tell now. Despite all this though, I have seen people calling out the misinformation and use of wrong images on social media.

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    1. It is great that people are calling out the wrong images more publicly,just like the video game images claimed to be Ukrainian photographs of attacks. The more this occurs, the more people are unlikely to accept information at face value, but analyse it for themselves. That is a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Amanda, thanks for doing this. Sources matter, but we must use multiple sources to validate stories. Sadly, there so-called leaders who use purposefully use disinformation as modus operandi. Vladimir Putin is one of those people, especially since he was trained in the KGB in disinformation. The first rule of thumb is start with not believing a word he says. The odds are well in your favor. The same holds true with the former US president who has a well-documented track record through multiple sources of being less than forthcoming with the truth. So, I do not believe a word he says, again because the odds are well in my favor.

    If you follow Putin, it was easily discernable he was going to invade Ukraine even two months ago. It was also easily discernable he was going to invent a reason to do so. Russia’s economy is not doing well, as it is overly reliant on fossil fuel trade. Ukraine is the bread basket of Europe and was a gem of the USSR until it peeled away. Putin wants to reconstitute the USSR under the Russian banner.

    I admire the spunk of the Ukraine folks for fighting back. I also admire the over 5,000 anti-war protestors in Russia who were arrested for speaking out. And, just yesterday, a climate scientist from Russia named Oleg Anisimov apologized to scientists representing 195 countries on a virtual call about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I am sure he will be detained.

    The push back on Putin may not do any good as he plays a long game, but I think its concerted effort has surprised him, along with the fighting spirit of the Ukrainians.

    Many thanks, Keith

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    1. Hey Keith, I am always keen to hear your input as it is always measured and I also needed the reminder to use multiple and diverse sources, even for this post. I should have presented a secondary source, not just Reuters if I am to practise what I preach.
      Secondly, I am surprised it has taken Putin this long to launch an invasion of Ukraine, given its resource rich and geopolitical desirable position. Thus, I wondered whether things are looking more grim for him at home in Russia, either economically as you mentioned, his own possible precarious mental health, or perhaps even personally, some rumblings amongst his own minions. A war that could help Russia economically might be a useful diversion that cements his own position at home? Those that are speaking out must feel emboldened enough from support in Russia to do so. That does seem to indicate some kind of change from previous years, but will it ever be enough to remove him from power? Whatever way it pans out, there is a heavy cost.
      I did expect a stubborn pushback from Ukraine and yes, their spunk. They will not make it easy for Putin. Years of pent-up resentment will erupt. I hope it works out well for them, for those in Russia speaking out and for the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Do trash trolls… 😉
    I limit myself to two French news outlets.
    And I stay away from internet news. Too much propaganda around.
    All well, despite this unexpected turn of events? Well, unexpected, not really.

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      1. I only read Le Point and L’Express, two centre-right weeklies. Though now on-line there are news every day. Both are totally opposed to Russia and not entirely sure Europeans are doing enough. Though their accounts are fairly balanced. And since both know about History both media are very concerned.
        I suspect some media might prone a “let’s not get involved.” At least one candidate stands that way.
        Personally, I have too many family ties with both World wars, (plus my own time in the Army, and a few years in the Defense industry) to not be very concerned…
        We’ll see. Day after day…

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