By Carolina Benjumea- @carolina.be95

The visual and instantaneous nature of TikTok, along with its huge reach, make it the perfect way to show the situation of millions of people right now.

TikTok, the social media platform, has become one of the main sources of information aiming at the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Today’s youth has stopped the viral and funny videos to post their feelings about the current situation in both countries, and to inform people around the world what is happening.

Ukrainians have taken their social media accounts to document the attacks of the Russian army, while Russian influencers are decided to show the reality of the conflict through the platform. This would be the first time that a conflict is being documented and witnessed by this platform and its impact lies in the fact that TikTok’s videos capture the world’s reality accurately and immediately. Its images and original footage take the conflict overseas and encourage people to take sides.

Whilst people don’t know if believing in the media and the government, civilians are the only trustful source of information, and this is where TikTok is becoming a safe space for facts. As social media becomes the political propaganda battlefield, they also become clusters for misinformation. These platforms play an important role in polarizing the world and shaping people’s opinions; therefore, TikTok has opted for partnering with independent fact-checking organizations to combat fake news, as claimed by Euro News.

The distorted reality of the war shown by Russia’s government has made it difficult for citizens to be well-informed. In Russia, independent channels are being forced to close, while those who are still open will face jail time for spreading “fake news” that comes from the western, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, another law, which forbids media from calling the conflict a ‘war’ or an ‘invasion’, has been signed. We are facing here another kind of war, the war of information. This is why Russian tiktokers like Niki Proshin or Natalia Konstantinova have been very open about where they stand in the conflict and have used their accounts to inform their followers about what is happening.

Ukraine is not different, while some civils decided to fight on the streets of Ukraine, those who cannot fight with the army are using TikTok as a way of resistance against the attacks. As the Russian army invades the country, footage of bombs and war tanks has become viral thanks to TikTok, exposing the brutality of war. According to WIRED, between February 20 and February 28, views on videos tagged with #ukraine jumped from 6.4 billion to 17.1 billion—a rate of 1.3 billion views a day, or 928,000 views a minute.

But TikTok is not the only space to take a stand on the war. Since the beginning of the invasion, people, politicians, and brands have expressed their thoughts on the current situation on social media. Instagram got filled with white squares and peace messages, and some brands and influencers have even started fundraisings to support those affected, revealing the enormous power of these spaces.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than ten million Ukrainians have left the country to escape the Russian invasion. As the footage of destroyed cities keeps circulating online and governments of both countries are starting to reach out for dialogues, the world keeps hoping for a diplomatic solution.

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