Social media as a weapon: our recent article about Ukraine’s experience in the social media war

Researchers Sofia Kostytska (Ukraine), Hannes Nagel and Anne-May Nagel published an article in the journal “Verbis aut Re” of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, focusing on the use of social media as a weapon in the example of the Ukrainian war.

The article describes the social media threats of wartime, the cases in Ukraine, and also the ways in which the Ukrainian state has managed to mitigate these threats.

Ukraine has been exposed to Russian information warfare techniques for a long time – not only since the fateful day of February this year, but already since 2014. Estonia and many other countries in the world (including NATO) also have contacts with the outputs of Russia’s information war, but in addition to what is happening in an active conflict, the experience of peacetime pales.

It is therefore important that we also support Ukraine in the information war, but also learn from Ukraine’s experience to prevent more common mistakes. Informing civilians and military personnel about the dangers of using social media during the war before real aggression begins can help prevent damage to infrastructure and critical equipment, injuries to civilians and even deaths. 

The case of Retroville, the initial phase of the war, is a painful lesson not only for Ukraine, but also for Estonia, and poses reasonable questions to the internal security authorities: would a similar situation have looked like in Tallinn, for example, if a missile strike hit the crowded Viru centre, but even more so, how to mitigate such threats? 

The full article can be found here: “If a social media post can kill perhaps examples of the Russian-Ukrainian war.”