Ukrainians are increasingly turning to encrypted messaging services as a way to combat Russian disinformation, according to a Kyiv IT expert.
Speaking on the latest edition of the Sky News Ukraine War Diaries podcast, Ilyas Verdiev says that while millions of people around the world rely on major digital news platforms to report on the war, many Ukrainians avoid these places.
“Obviously the internet has devoured us.
“Telegram is becoming more of a social network. It has become very popular in post-Soviet countries.” Telegram is a messaging service that has become a popular alternative to Facebook-owned WhatsApp. Many organized groups, including political activists, Russian disinformation use the platform’s streaming feature as a form of newsletter for subscribers and supporters.
“The important thing about Telegram is that it is encrypted and is considered secure,” explains Ilyas. The 40-year-old has been working during the war to secure Ukraine’s digital infrastructure.
“You have to filter everything you subscribe to and all the news you read.”
Encrypted instant messaging platforms have grown exponentially in recent years. Telegram says it has more than 700 million users worldwide.
And Ilyas explains that in Ukraine, citizens are increasingly trying to avoid disinformation.
This has 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’s really good at analysis.
“In the beginning, even before the full-scale invasion, I was writing about the possible war, [that] it will not be quick Russian disinformation and that you have to prepare for it.
“These words helped me be more realistic about the situation.”
From the creators of Sky News’ award-winning StoryCast, Ukraine War Diaries is a weekly podcast following those living on Europe’s new front and those who have escaped from it.