According to a Kyiv-based IT expert, Ukrainians are increasingly turning to encrypted messaging services to combat Russian disinformation.
Speaking in the latest edition of Sky News Ukrainian War Diaries podcast, Ilyas Verdiev says that while millions around the world rely on mainstream digital news platforms to report on the war, these places are avoided by many Ukrainians.
They fear that online platforms are being contaminated by Russian disinformation efforts.
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“This fake news war is huge these days,” says Ilyas.
“Obviously the internet has eaten us up.
“Telegram is more and more like a social network. It has become very popular in post-Soviet countries.”
Telegram is a messaging service, which has become a popular alternative to WhatsApp owned by Facebook. Many organized groups, including political activists, use the platform’s broadcast feature as a form of newsletter for subscribers and supporters.
“The great thing about Telegram is that it’s encrypted and it’s considered secure,” says Ilyas. The 40-year-old worked during the war to secure Ukraine’s digital infrastructure.
“You should filter everything you subscribe to and all the news you read.”
Instant encrypted messaging platforms have grown exponentially in recent years. Telegram claims to have over 700 million users worldwide.
And Ilyas explains that in Ukraine, citizens are increasingly trying to thwart misinformation.
This led the IT specialist to seek out reputable independent reports.
“There is a channel that I keep reading,” he continues. “This guy is from Kyiv. He is really good at analysis.
“At the very beginning, even before the full-scale invasion, he wrote about possible war, [that] it’s not going to be quick and you have to prepare for it.
“These words helped me to be more realistic about the situation.”
From the makers of Sky News’ award-winning StoryCast, Ukraine War Diaries is a weekly podcast that follows those living on Europe’s new frontline and those who have escaped it.
Producer: Robert Mulhern
Digital Promotion and Additional Writing: David Chipakupaku