Facebook users posting game footage, saying it’s Ukraine, as misinformation spreads

Written by on February 26, 2022

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – Misinformation focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine flooded social media conversations Thursday (Feb 24), from pro-Kremlin conspiracies spreading across Telegram to videos described as live attacks proliferating on Facebook’s gaming platform.

The top videos on Facebook Gaming were described as footage of live attacks on Ukraine by Russia, some complete with red “breaking news” banners. But the clips were actually gameplay from the military-themed video game Arma 3.

Meanwhile, more than 100 channels on the messaging app Telegram – totalling hundreds of thousands of followers – were filled with posts promoting talking points from Russian President Vladimir Putin as his forces invaded Ukraine.

The Facebook videos, watched by more than 110,000 concurrent viewers and shared more than 25,000 times, were pulled down after Bloomberg News approached Facebook owner Meta Platforms for comment.

Meta has long struggled to moderate misleading or fake news, including stories about elections and Covid-19. Experts say it is more challenging to moderate video than text – particularly live video, as it is difficult for artificial intelligence to analyse as it plays.

“In response to the unfolding military conflict in Ukraine, we have established a Special Operations Centre to respond in real time,” Mr Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta’s head of security policy, said on Twitter, adding that the centre will be staffed with native speakers.

Launched in 2018, Facebook Gaming is Meta’s answer to Twitch, Amazon.com’s popular game livestreaming service. On Thursday, the service was overrun by more than 90 Arma 3 videos with titles referencing the crisis in Ukraine – some of which were live for as long as eight hours.

Earlier that day, all five of Facebook Gaming’s most-viewed videos on the platform depicted a video-game rendition of military assault in Ukraine. Some of the videos’ titles, many of which were in Arabic, read, “Russia fighter jets on Ukraine” and “Live scenes of the Russian bombing of Ukraine”.

The top-viewed livestream was in fact a pre-recorded video of a plane shelling a shoreline in the game Arma 3. Fifty-two thousand live viewers tuned in. In the accompanying chatroom, the channel owner, who goes by Naruto, repeatedly asked the viewers to subscribe. Under an Arabic Arma 3 video with a “breaking news” label, the creator commented that the livestream was “from the borders of Ukraine” and documented by a reporter.

“Meta has enough experience now that it should be anticipating this stuff, especially in crisis scenarios like this,” said Ms Evelyn Douek at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.

Other user-generated content sites saw similar problems.

While Telegram has emerged as a major source of real-time news about the Russian invasion, including dispatches from Ukrainian government officials, it has also drawn criticism for misinformation.

— to www.straitstimes.com

The post Facebook users posting game footage, saying it’s Ukraine, as misinformation spreads appeared first on Correct Success.

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