Anumber of popular stories chronicling Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s ongoing invasion – including those promoted by U.S. Congressmen, media outlets, and even conservatives online – have turned out to be false, despite garnering millions of shares and likes.
The viral, fake stories come amidst social media platforms rolling out robust “fact-checking” operations, often used to swiftly censor stories counter to establishment narratives or critical of the Democratic Party. These programs, however, have routinely failed to flag the following stories as false with the same tenacity.
1. The Snake Island “Martyrs.”
Thirteen Ukrainian border guards stationed on the country’s Snake Island, located in the Black Sea, were quickly alleged to have been killed by Russian forces, at the onset of Russia’s invasion. Audio recordings of what was allegedly their final moment went viral on social media, with a Russian warship demanding: “I ask you to lay down your arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary deaths. Otherwise, you will be bombed.”
“Russian warship,” came the reply, “go f**k yourself.”
The 13 Ukrainians, the country’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, died “heroically.” He later promised to recognize each solder with the title of Hero of Ukraine. Days later, however, the Ukraine Navy revealed that the guards had actually been “taken captive by Russian occupiers” and were all still alive.