Righteous keyboard warriors are using social media platforms to counter Russian war propaganda

Righteous keyboard warriors are using social media platforms to counter Russian war propaganda

Ukrainians are fighting for their fledgling democracy and independence, but this fight is bigger than just one country. In a very real sense, they’re fighting for us and for everyone on the planet who loves democracy and hates autocracy. Contrary to the traitorous whining of the Putin-appeasing GOP, President Biden has been a rock throughout this crisis, assembling a coalition that’s brought the hammer down on Putin’s economy and left his long-term plans in cinders. And it was no small feat, considering how much Germany, for example, relies on Russian energy.

So we have strong leadership that’s had its mettle tested by years of Putin saber-rattling and Republican sniping, and that’s been inspiring. Moreover, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is rallying his people and inspiring the world to action through his almost cinematic displays of courage. No doubt you’ve felt a desire to pile on and do a little Putin-punishing of your own. I sure have. So Tuesday, I took that rage, filtered out some of the ragiest parts, and donated a little money to this Daily Kos-backed Ukrainian relief effort

So we can all do something to support Ukraine. That’s inspiring in itself. And some people are using their imaginations. 

While Russia has used the internet to great effect to undermine Western democracy (by, for example, putting a fascist yam salad in the Oval Office), that wild and woolly platform can be a double-edged sword. And now some enterprising folks are using it to bypass Russia’s tightening control of local media during this latest conflict:

Russia’s communications regulator has accused 10 local media outlets of falsely depicting what Russia calls a special operation to demilitarise Ukraine. On Tuesday, Russia took radio station Ekho Moskvy off air, because of its coverage of the invasion.

But online comments on platforms such as Google Maps and Afisha.ru, a widely used lifestyle and entertainment website in Russia, are harder to contain – especially as internet users turn to online tools such as VPNs to circumvent restrictions on social media.

In a review of one of Moscow’s most popular seafood restaurants on Afisha.ru, one user wrote: “The deployment of troops in Ukraine is a war, not a special operation. Russian military kill children and civilians!!!!”

Yes, terrible restaurant! And such small portions!

Personally, I haven’t seen such a full-throated defense of innocent children in a restaurant review since I last visited Chuck E. Cheese’s Yelp page, but there it is. There’s no hiding your bloodstained hands this time, Vlad. We all see you and your American quisling crew. The GOP is now trying to scurry away from Putin like cockroaches at a cockroach-eating contest, but their treachery has been extensively documented.

But never mind those assholes. Huzzah and godspeed to these brave assholes: “The place was nice!” said one reviewer. “However, Putin spoiled our mood by invading Ukraine. Rise up against your dictator, stop killing innocent people! Your government is lying to you.”

According to Reuters, the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous has been behind some of the efforts to bypass the Kremlin’s iron-fisted control of traditional media. On Twitter, the group has encouraged people to write reviews on Google Maps outlining the facts about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Others have encouraged Ukraine’s supporters to use other social media platforms, such as Instagram. “In the text, write about the war and attach a photo of destroyed houses, casualties, and people in bomb shelters,” one user wrote.

Gee, seems like it would be almost impossible to staunch the flow of information Russia doesn’t like unless, say, someone accidentally pushed Putin out of a window into a dumpster full of polonium

But hey, fucking with tyrants is a fun time. And anyone can do it! If you can’t or don’t want to donate money, you can always put your keyboard to good use. Democracy is back, baby! Let’s show the world we’re stronger than any tinpot dictator. Oh, and screw Putin and his GOP puppet brigade. But that goes without saying.

It made comedian Sarah Silverman say, “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT,” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE

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