Invasion of Ukraine: Separating fact from fiction on social media

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As TikTok gives the younger generation a front-row seat to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, social media expert warns about differentiating fact from fiction.

TikTok is giving the younger generation a front-row seat to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But for a lot of the content out there, it can be hard to differentiate what’s real and what isn’t.

If you have TikTok, right now your feed is probably inundated with video after video of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Social media is the outsource of really seeing what is going on out there. TikTok seems to be the main source right now,” Robert Stern, The Social Leader CEO and Founder said.

Stern explains how TikTok -- a popular app among Gen Z and younger Millennials -- is giving a firsthand look at what’s happening on the ground overseas.

Stern says such social media platforms can sometimes be the only source of news for the younger generation.

“Instagram, yeah, TikTok’s a big part of it; sometimes Reddit,” UNF freshman Robert Braun said. “Social media is definitely the biggest part of it, for sure, especially as a young adult.”

Braun says if it wasn’t for apps like TikTok and Instagram, he’d primarily know what’s going on by word of mouth.

“Mostly Instagram,” explained another freshman, Jacob Svare. “Also, I browse Google News just to see what’s happening.”

While both students say they fact-check, Stern warns many people don’t do it enough. “Always double-check. Go on to a reliable source – a news site,” Stern explained.

For parents of younger kids and teens, he suggests following their children on social media and talking about what they’re seeing on their smartphones.

Stern says a lot of good and bad information is spread through social media; the younger generations have to learn to navigate.

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