Technology, social networks and war have become obligatory companions. Long before the war in Ukraine that we are currently experiencing, this relationship was destined to be practically unbreakable. The latest example is Google's decision to disable traffic features on Google Maps amid Russia's invasion of the country. It has taken this decision to protect the population that lives the invasion of Russia. Specifically, the technology has decided to stop showing data such as traffic delays or the influx of a store because some people were using that data to track the movements of military and civilians.
According @googlemaps, there is a "traffic jam" at 3:15 in the morning on the road from Belgorod, Russia to the Ukrainian border. It starts *exactly* where we saw a Russian formation of armor and IFV/APCs show up yesterday.Someone's on the move. pic.twitter.com/BYyc5YZsWL
— Dr. Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) February 24, 2022
The real job is to analyze the data
Jesús Manuel Pérez Triana, author of Postmodern Wars, explains to Hipertextual that technology plays a fundamental role in obtaining intelligence and strategic decisions on the battlefield. "Syria was the first conflict where we really saw it all," he says. However, it seems that now it has a greater impact because it is the first time in a long time that we do not live a war so close. "This is the first war in Europe where we have seen this impact but the technology genie came out of the bottle a long time ago."
"The data is open and all the information is mixed. The real job of intelligence is to search for it, order it, find coherence, validate it, interpret it."
Jesus Manuel Perez Triana
That is why it is necessary that, in the context of the war in Ukraine, the thousands of available data be verified. These are, in the end, one more information tool, although a very important one. Somehow, a large part of information has been democratized, which is not only used by intelligence services. On the other hand, both journalists and researchers can use it for their own analysis.
If a person knows where to look and what to look for, he is able to analyze, also thanks to artificial intelligence algorithms, a large amount of data that can show the other side of the coin. War is no longer something we only see on television, it happens before the eyes of all of us. And practically no filters.
Disinformation, also in the Ukraine war
It has never been so easy to have information about what is happening in the world; now, in the Ukraine war. Journalists, users and even authorities publish the latest news almost daily. On the one hand, this is a way to fight disinformation. Especially if the people who publish it are in situ and show "evidence" about the conflict.
For few it is a surprise, and even less if we include Russia's measures to promote disinformation, a strategy that came to light in great detail in the 2016 United States elections. Last Sunday, Facebook announced that it had managed to stop a fake news campaign originating from Russia, as well as several attempts to hack Ukrainian military and journalists.
The flip side of deleting channels and profiles
Digital platforms are very present in the war in Ukraine. Social media expert María García-Quitana believes that they have even positioned themselves against Russia and are doing everything in their power to stop the invasion. For example, Russia's veto of Russian sites and their funding through advertisements. "Both Twitter and Meta have said that they are going to favor everything that is to launch news against Russia and in favor of the communities that are being created to help people in Ukraine. The networks here have positioned themselves," points out Hipertextual.
All kinds of initiatives are also being born to help Ukrainians, such as campaigns with cryptocurrencies or pages to promote humanitarian aid. On social networks, everything turns into information about the war in Ukraine, which, on the one hand, is used to help affected people. On the other, as an intelligence weapon that can bring to light information that until then was kept secret.