If there is one thing that everybody is talking about right now, it is the war going on between Russia and Ukraine. This is something that has shocked the world and on every website you are on, you are going to see photos, videos and stories about what is going on. In particular, social media is being filled with photos and videos of shootings, bombs and other catastrophes happening in Ukraine. There is also footage of people fleeing their homes and into other countries.
But, something you have to realize is that not everything on social media is what it seems. Some people deliberately post fake or misleading footage to attract views or to push their own political views. How can you spot these fake and misleading posts on social media? Let’s take a closer look.
How Are People Faking or Misleading Viewers?
Unfortunately, you always have to be on your guard when it comes to fake and misleading footage online. This applies whether you are on Facebook. Instagram or even TikTok. In particular, one fakery technique that you should be aware of is using a photo or video from years ago or that originated in a different situation altogether. The point of this footage is to look like it is from the Ukraine war. It is the easiest way for users to provide fake footage since they do not have to do anything other than post the old content. Then, they say it is from Ukraine.
In addition, people are even staging or acting in an attempt to mislead and gain views. For instance, it has been proven that this is something that Russia has been doing in an attempt to get people on their side about what has been going on. What’s more, you can cut videos at certain points and use different lenses to imagine a particular event when in reality, this is not actually what happened. Even photoshop can be used to make a situation seem worse from the war.
Is Anything Being Done to Debunk Fake Footage?
Thankfully, many people are aware that there is fake or misleading footage going around on the internet. You could be looking at stock footage and not real content. In particular, social media is full of it since you can repost or share something within seconds. This makes it go viral and before you know it, millions believe they are watching footage from the war in Ukraine. So, is footage being debunked and revealed?
The answer is yes. There are many organizations that are doing their best to point out footage that is fake, as well as taking it down from their platforms. For example, the BBC is one popular news outlet that is taking the time to raise awareness of what is happening. In particular, they are educating their readers about what is going on so that people do not believe the fake footage they are seeing.
The real problem is on social media. Of course, people have the freedom to be able to post whatever content they want. This increases the chances of fake footage and it can spread like wildfire. But, social media platforms are aware of what is going on. In fact, they are adding new labels to help you learn more about videos, as well as making changes to their algorithms. In particular, staff are being used to find fake content and flag it. So, if there is misleading footage going around, they are likely to see and delete it before it can get any further on a platform.
How Can You Avoid the Trap of Fake Images and Videos?
There is so much information being posted about the Ukraine war at the moment. So, you are likely to find images and videos online soon if you have not already. What can you do to make sure that you are not deceived by what you find? Well, make sure that you do your own fact-checking. Try to investigate what is going on and debunk the footage yourself.
For example, there might be situations taking place but the dates do not match up. This is likely to be misleading. You can check this type of information yourself before you believe what you are watching. With social media, take the videos with a pinch of salt. Remember why people spread false information. For instance, you can always take advantage of Google and its ‘reverse image search.’ This is going to flag any posts that are already on the internet and you can check whether they exist for another event.
You might even be able to spot from the footage you watch that something is not right. Perhaps it has been edited and it looks fake or there is even evidence of a greenscreen or obvious recording. Try to think about what you are watching carefully and whether it is believable.