Some Of The Most Popular ‘Ukraine Footage’ Is From A Video Game

Arma III, a video game that, under certain circumstances, can look quite realistic, has a long history of appearing on news broadcasts and was either confused or deliberately used instead of actual camera footage of real events. This trend continues in the current crisis in Ukraine.

Because Bloomberg report some of the most viewed videos on the Facebook gaming channel today were several videos purporting to be related to the military action in Ukraine, which were “viewed by over 110,000 people and shared over 25,000 times” before being removed by Facebook. 

The same videos are shared on other social networks, including Twitter; here is one of the videos posted with the text “Ukraine launches missiles to intercept Russian aircraft artillery fire,” although, in fact, it is some Arma III footage:

UPDATETwitter now deleted both the video and the tweet itself although you can see the footage in question below:

At the time of publication, this tweet has received 11,000 likes and nearly 2,000 retweets. It’s easy for you and me to sit here and say, “well, of course, it’s a video game,” but not everyone is familiar with ArmA’s attention to detail and visual consistency. And remember, the smaller or blurrier these social media videos are, the easier it is to pass them off as real footage.

It also speaks to a broader problem that anyone who has been online in the last 24 hours (or the last 10 years) could see unfolding: any intrusion coverage that allows for community input is overwhelmed with opportunists seeking input (regardless of how inaccurate the content they are actually sharing) and agents seeking to confuse and divert attention from what actually happens.

This makes it hard to be able to tell what’s real and what’s not when you’re looking at these things online, which is why sites like Facebook (see try to moderate things:

As I said, it’s not the first time Arma III personnel were misused during the crisis. Russian News was caught using it for a story about Syria in 2018 and tried to pass it off as “human error.” though Russia’s use of video game footage in 2017 to claim that the US is supporting ISIS has not helped their cause.

Use this as a reminder that if you are browsing Ukraine on social media, check and then triple-check sources and content before interacting with and/or sharing it.


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