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DENVER (KDVR) — The crisis in Ukraine is playing out on social media in a way the world has never quite seen. The videos are allowing the world to experience the invasion in a much different way compared to other major conflicts. Younger generations have never experienced such a conflict.

Ukrainians, who shot videos with cell phones, have been posting to platforms such as TikTok. The short video snippets are adding to the overall narrative of what’s happening. Throughout history, conflicts have played out in different media forms.

“With each conflict, there’s always a new media technology that comes along with that new conflict,” Eric Fattor said, a lecturer of international politics and political theory at Colorado State University.

Fattor points to newspapers at the center of the Spanish-American War and radio during World War I. Film helped the public understand World War II, and 24-hour cable news coverage has been available for modern conflicts. Now, social media is a primary source of information. It is a democratizing tool people can use in an attempt to sort out fact from fiction.

“It’s not just TikTok,” Fattor said. “It’s Twitter, it’s Facebook, it’s Snapchat. It’s all of these various social media platforms where this youngest generation gets most of their information.”

Social media, however, allows for some unintended outcomes.

“They will experience the conflict in those very short video snippets,” Fattor said. “And the consequence is that maybe they miss the big picture or longer game of the conflict and just see it as a series of snapshots. This generation … this is their first sort of great-power conflict. We haven’t had anything of this scale since 2003.”

The challenge of sorting out what’s real and what’s manufactured is also at play. The United States has accused Russia of pushing misinformation and propaganda. Prior to social media, narratives were “top, down” –originating from a government or a major media company.

Trusted news outlets will help sort fact from fiction. In the world of TikTok and Twitter, other users are depended upon to call out fake content. The overall scrutiny, especially from the younger generation, holds a promise of exposing discrepancies in any narrative, Fattor explained.