University of Texas researcher warns public of misinformation amid Russia-Ukraine conflict

As Russia invades Ukraine, dozens of videos from the war zone and the area are being posted on social media every hour. 

People all across the world are able to watch and see the events unfold as long as they have access to the Internet.

Updates are also being posted throughout various platforms. 

"We haven’t really seen anything like this in a long time and this is happening at a time when information channels are readily available and information can spread quite fast," said Martin Riedl, a University of Texas postdoctoral researcher at the Propaganda Research Lab.

With this war happening in an age where technology is so accessible, researchers at the University of Texas said this can act as a double edge sword. 

"That’s also an opportunity space for people to spread misinformation or false information, so it’s very much to be expected that when something like this happens propagandist sweep in and false information spreads quickly," said Riedl.

Riedl said there’s a chance some of the videos or information being posted is incorrect or has nothing to do with what is actually happening in Ukraine. With all this information coming out so quickly, people might share misinformation without giving it a second thought. He has urged people to slow down and check who is posting.

"We can check what accounts are sharing this type of information. Before I share something or retweet, if I see something is something off with the account, for example- do they only have very few followers, was the account created very recently?"

Riedl said this can also be the case with people you know. 

"Just because I’m friends with you does not mean we have the same principle as vetting our sources. I think we should pause. Just because somebody you trust posted something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it first," said Riedl. 

Before you hit the like or share button make sure you take a good look at what’s actually being posted.

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