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Feb. 24, 2022, 12:16 p.m.
Reporting & Production

Some resources for following the invasion of Ukraine

Lists, liveblogs, maps.

Following the news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is difficult, especially if you’re not already extremely knowledgeable about the situation. Turning to Twitter may be the automatic reaction, but it’s not necessarily that helpful: The non-chronological-by-default timeline means news is presented out of order (here’s how you can fix that, if you’d like). Opinions outweigh people reporting from the ground. On Wednesday, many Twitter users posting video from Ukraine — including large accounts like @Conflicts — found their accounts suspended or locked, a move Twitter says was an error.

In moments like this, “Twitter’s strength as an amplification and recommendation platform goes away,” said Jeremy Littau, associate professor of journalism and communication at Lehigh University. “It’s not that the news coverage isn’t there, it’s that the ability to find it is harder. I’ve got a mix of expertise and hot takes from sudden experts and people posting with the Ukrainian flag. It’s a lot, and in these moments I think we have trouble sifting through that volume of information.”

The Kyiv Independent, a three-month-old English-language Ukrainian news site launched by former Kyiv Post journalists after that outlet temporarily shuttered — the Kyiv Post has since relaunched — is using the lightning bolt emoji to help readers quickly differentiate its breaking news tweets from other tweets:

We’ve pulled together a few resources to help you receive reliable information on what is happening. This list is being updated.

Twitter lists

A few people have compiled Twitter lists of folks to follow. Still, a caution: “Don’t necessarily trust your in-network amplifiers. Other folks are moving fast and maybe not vetting so well,” Kate Starbird, associate professor of human centered design and engineering at the University of Washington, tweeted. “Mistakes happen. Don’t let their mistake be your mistake and cascade through your network.” (For instance; for instance.)

From Jane Lytvynenko, a senior research fellow at the Technology and Social Change Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center who is originally from Ukraine:

From CNN reporter Daniel Dale:

From Josh Marshall, editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo:

From Rebecca Shabad, politics reporter for NBC News:

English-language Telegram

Dropped paywalls/products made free

The Financial Times has dropped its paywall on Ukraine coverage.

Sweden’s Svenska Dagbladet has dropped the paywall on its live coverage.

Germany’s Zeit has dropped the paywall across its site for readers in Russia and Ukraine.

The Kyiv Post and Kyiv Independent are not paywalled. (The Kyiv Independent has a Patreon and GoFundMe.)

NewsWhip is offering making its premium Spike product free to certain groups. (Find contact info, etc. for accessing the product further down in the thread.)

Podcasts and newsletters

NPR has launched State of Ukraine, a podcast that will update several times a day.

The New York Times has a Russia-Ukraine war briefing email newsletter, sent in the evenings.

Trackers

The German investigative nonprofit Correctiv launched a sanctions tracker, updated daily, of all sanctions against Russia. It’s available in German and English.

The Technology and Social Change Project at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center is tracking “moves by major technology companies and governments to limit the flow of misinformation. This includes state sponsored misinformation and content removed at the behest of governments, as people worldwide flock to social media to receive updates of the rapidly unfolding violence.” It’s updated daily.

Fact-checking and debunking

The international investigative journalism collective Bellingcat is maintaining a fact-checking spreadsheet of dubious and debunked claims from the Ukraine frontlines, noting, “Many of the more dramatic claims aired by Russian state media or pro-separatist channels of Ukrainian aggression in recent days appear to have little truth to them. On the contrary, some videos appear to be flagrant attempts at disinformation.”

The International Fact-Checking Network launched #UkraineFacts, a collaborative effort to debunk Ukraine disinformation.

Watch out for scammy Instagram war pages and fake war reporting, Taylor Lorenz reports:

Hayden, who claims to be a 21-year-old from Kentucky, says that after learning about the war breaking out through the hip-hop Instagram page @Rap, he saw an opportunity. He had already run a popular war page called @liveinafghanistan. More recently, he had renamed it @newstruths and pivoted to posting viral, vaguely conservative-leaning videos featuring people shoplifting and clips of President Biden.

But on Wednesday night, it was wartime again, and so the page became @livefromukraine.

“I don’t really know what’s going on with all this political tension,” Hayden says. “I’m just trying to document what’s going on.” His verification methods involve sussing out the comment sections of the videos and seeing if other people have claimed they are false. “I can’t really verify them myself,” he says of the videos he shares.

Kayleen Devlin and Olga Robinson of the BBC’s disinformation monitoring unit looked at some of the techniques Russia is using to try to spread pro-Kremlin media narratives; for instance:

In recent weeks, some Russian state media outlets have featured misleading headlines about international support for Ukraine based solely on user comments on Western media sites.

One article published on the website of the state news agency RIA Novosti in late January claimed that “British” readers of the Daily Express supported the view that Ukraine should not be defended because Russia had a stronger military presence in the region than NATO.

Another suggested that readers laughed at Ukraine’s military potential.

There have also been concerns that pro-Kremlin trolls, using fake accounts, have targeted British and other foreign media sites, to advance Russian interests.

Research by Cardiff University’s Crime and Security Research Institute from last year found that the comment sections of 32 prominent media websites across 16 countries, including the Daily Express, had been targeted by pro-Kremlin trolls.

According to researchers, their anti-Western and pro-Russian comments were then used as the basis for news stories in Russian-language media.

Secure messaging platform Telegram “has been the main vector for invasion disinformation,” Foreign Policy noted:

Telegram may be a fairly marginal social media channel in the West, but—unlike Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube—it is one free of restrictions for state-backed propaganda campaigns in Russia, where it remains popular. The Russian state broadcaster RT, for example, has more than 200,000 followers on the platform.

The amount of disinformation emanating from Telegram was significant enough to warrant a statementT from the Ukrainian government’s anti-disinformation body on Thursday, calling the work of such channels “information terrorism.” While few English-language channels were on the list of those the government flagged as dangerous, despite some of them having tens of thousands of followers, the statement nevertheless underscores Kyiv’s fear that Telegram offers a dedicated pipeline of pro-Russian propaganda.

Livestreams

Lytvynenko wrote for The Atlantic about watching a Reuters livestream of Kyiv’s Maidan Square.

The stream of Maidan is different from all the noise. Nothing’s fake here; there’s no algorithm; and once I hide the live chat, there isn’t even a conversation to parse. It’s not a green screen against which TV pundits discuss Russia’s next move. The livestream is not trying to convince me of anything; it’s just showing me things as they are.

Maps

Datawrapper’s Lisa Charlotte Muth has a thread of maps from graphics reporters.

But keep in mind that maps can be a less than perfect way to follow what’s happening:

Translations

The New York Times is translating some of its Russia-Ukraine stories into Spanish.

This post is being updated as needed. Let us know if you have suggestions of things to add.

Photo of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 by AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti.

POSTED     Feb. 24, 2022, 12:16 p.m.
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