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Ukraine crisis shows serious side of social

March 2022 • News, Opinion

The pervasive nature of social media means that even the world’s most serious geopolitical events generate headlines about the actions of different social platforms.

The conflict in Ukraine is the latest example, with Facebook and Twitter blocking two Russian state-backed news channels in the EU, leading to the suspension of the social platforms in Russia in retaliation.

More recently, Snapchat has turned off its heatmap feature in Ukraine, ensuring the app no longer shows how many snaps are being taken in particular locations, in a move that it has described as a “safety precaution”.

On the topic of safety, TikTok has suspended live streaming in Russia in response to the Kremlin criminalising the distribution of content it deems to be fake news regarding events in Ukraine. TikTok has said that it had hoped to be a “source of relief and human connection during a time of war” but needs to “review the safety implications” of the new law.

The social platforms we know and love do offer the “relief and human connection” that TikTok describes. Recent events present us with a timely reminder that they’re also platforms that need to respond to global events – and spaces where brands need to constantly redouble their efforts to operate responsibly and respectfully.

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