Social networks on the middle of the warfare

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict is also taking place on the information front, ie on the disinformation front. Two videos published on social networks have recently spread like wildfire on this topic. The first in which Vladimir Putin announces the surrender of Russia and the current end of the conflict in Ukraine[1]. Another, that of Ukrainian President Zelensky, who addresses his fellow citizens to tell them that he has decided to surrender to the Russians.[2]. In both videos, posted on Twitter and YouTube, the images and sounds seem true, but which are in reality only gross manipulations.

Information war

A month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conflict sparked an era of propaganda and disinformation, especially carried by deepfakes, these life-size video manipulations that multiply online. Contraction of ” deep learning (artificial intelligence technique) i fake (incorrect), these very realistic hyper-fakings are multiplying online (We remember this fake video showing Paris under the bombs as a call for mass support in favor of Ukraine[3]) to the extent that for the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Emina Dyaparova, this general misinformation is similar. “ World War III »[4].

Nothing surprising in this wave of false information when we remember that almost 10 years ago, General Valéri Guérassimov, the Chief of the Russian Staff, published a new military doctrine of the Kremlin[5]. At the heart of this text is the fact of betting on so-called “hybrid” wars, including the information dimension, which combines misinformation, manipulation, psychological action, destabilization, cyber-chaos and cyber warfare, with “classic” military actions that even threaten a strategic nuclear threat. What has been happening in Ukraine in recent weeks is the correct application of these principles of total war in which social networks are used in “war” mode.

Social networks, war media, war media

And this conflict in Ukraine confirms the fact that this is undoubtedly the first total war of social networks. From the war in Syria to the attack in France, including the attack on the Capitol in early 2021, every violent event in recent years has certainly shaken platforms, but it is likely that History will remember that the era of Massive disinformation to exhaust the enemy dates back to of this conflict in the heart of Europe. From the Ukrainian president using Telegram messages from the first days of the conflict[6] to call on his fellow citizens to resist, that is, that the same social network enabled the Ukrainian army to locate and then attack Russian positions because soldiers from Moscow responded to Telegram messages sent by agents via chatbot[7]this conflict puts social networks at the heart of this information war.

A symbol of this transition to the era of the information war, the White House recently organized a briefing reserved for some thirty TikTok influencers to inform them about the situation in Ukraine.[8]. Is there evidence that social networks and their millions of “followers” can move, without transition, from a world where everything is carefree futility to another where it comes to witnessing and transmitting the widest possible, without the slightest use of any filter.

Meta, Twitter, Tik Tok, new geopolitical players

This war between Russia and Ukraine is also a war that is being played with, as allies, the main global social networks. Meta (formerly Facebook) and Twitter decided to exclude themselves from the official Russian newspaper pages, while allowing messages that stigmatize the country’s soldiers. To which Moscow responded by adopting several measures, including a regime of imprisonment for those that would spread, especially via the Internet, ” fake news or by initiating legal proceedings against these technology companies qualified as “extremist” organizations.

As for the Chinese network TikTok, the world’s leading social network in terms of the number of active subscribers, its activity in Russia remains authorized for now, although severely limited due to the fact that it is no longer possible to post new videos or broadcast live (live broadcast).

Weapons of mass destabilization

During the war, the time when it was enough to get to the traditional media (radio, television, telecommunication centers, etc.) is definitely over. From now on, almost everything is played on the Internet, especially through social networks, including resorting to all the subterfuges that new technologies allow: fake photos, violent messages, propaganda videos … social networks transform all conflicts.

Because everything is instant and just a click away, social networks embody a new type of dematerialized battlefield dominated by image, visual, deintermediation of public opinion[9]. »

In the 19th century, Napoleon summed it up by saying that a good sketch is better than a long speech. At the beginning of the 21st century, this military saying remains truer than ever, except that it is now a video that takes precedence over sketches. Used in order to reduce and defeat the enemy, social networks have established themselves as an intensifier of cyber warfare. On the virtual battlefield where all shootings are allowed, smartphones, computers and internet connections are now weapons in the service of mass destabilization.

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NOTES & LINKS

1. Serhiy Sternenko on Twitter: “President ffââvil on the capitulation of Russia.

2. Hacked, Ukrainian news channel broadcasts “deepfake” (fake video) Zelensky in spite of himself (via BFMTV) https://youtu.be/9eiBQtL1cV8

3. A tweet from the Ukrainian parliament based on a special effects video showing, recorded on a mobile phone, the bombing of today’s Paris: “Would the famous Eiffel Tower in #Paris or the Porte de Brandenburg in #Berlin remain under endless bombing by Russian troops? Do you think Doesn’t this concern you? Today is #Ukraine, tomorrow is the whole of #Europe. https://t.co/vi6z5UWV8q “/ Twitter

4. https://www.nicematin.com/conflits/la-desinformation-sapparent-a-une-3eme-guerre-mondiale-according-une-minister-ukrainienne-755994

5. https://nemrod-ecds.com/?p=3537

6. The telegram was at the center of the Ukrainian war. How do you use it and is it safe? | euro news

7. Ukraine says it hit Russian vehicles in Kiev thanks to Telegram advice (businessinsider.com)

8. https://www.prnewsonline.com/white-house-tiktok-briefing-do-over

9. u “ Are social networks transforming warfare? »By Laura Sibony published in no. 784 of the Défense Nationale in 2015, see pages 49 to 52