Sifted: The Ukrainians fighting the country’s information war

Tech workers are using their skills to influence the narrative around the invasion

Separating truth from propaganda is never easy during war. And it’s even harder in the social media age, where verified facts are even harder to come by. That leaves Ukraine’s digital-savvy tech workers on the front line in this battle for information.

As the invasion now moves into its third month, Ukrainians with UX writing, social media and cybersecurity experience are sharing their own narratives of the war in an effort they hope will help the country’s military resistance.

  • One of them is Stanislav Olenchenko, a UX writer for Kyiv-based software company MacPaw, who has now fled Ukraine. He dedicates at least half of his day, sometimes more, to UA explainers: a series of social cards with bite-sized messages about the Russian invasion, which people can easily download and share on social media.

Stas Olenchenko, a UX writer of MacPaw: “We’re trying to convey a message that Ukraine is fighting a war of existence, and that it really needs all the military and humanitarian help it can get. My job as a UX writer involves explaining complex things in a very short, simple way — and this is exactly what we’re trying to do with UA explainers.”

  • Russia’s own use of misinformation to justify the war has been well documented, with accurate reporting of atrocities in Ukraine totally absent in the country’s media. One startup that’s been trying to combat that is Hacken, a cybersecurity company from Kyiv that’s been devoting its time to hacking Russian government and social media sites.

Dyma Budorin, CEO of the Hacken Cybersecurity Services: “The Ukrainian army are big heroes for us. They also read the internet and see about these small wins and they’re happy about them. Our task right now is to make them confident that the whole nation is supporting them, and we’re acting as one.”

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