RUSSIA’S INVASION OF Ukraine is not the first social media war—but it is the first to play out on TikTok. The 2011 Arab Spring was fomented and furthered on Twitter and Facebook. Clips of Syrian children choking from chemical weapons filled social media timelines in 2018. And the Taliban’s capture of Kabul, with all the chaos that wrought, was live-tweeted into our homes last year. Images of unspeakable horrors supplanting the banality of status updates and selfies is nothing new. But the current conflict is a very different kind of social media war, fueled by TikTok’s transformative effect on the old norms of tech.
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