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Ukraine Crisis

Meta to block access to RT and Sputnik

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The restrictions on its platforms across the European Union on these Russian state media outlets follow requests from governments and the EU to prevent the spread of Russian disinformation

The EU’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, says that tools are being developed to ban Russia’s toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe.

“The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to saw division in our Union,”

he says.

The ban has reached TikTok and may extend to online platforms including YouTube to prevent Russian propaganda from reaching western audiences.

TikTok: From dancing to politics 

This comes as TikTok, traditionally a platform for dancing videos but now used to help young people understand politics, particularly surrounding the war in Russia and Ukraine.

As shown above, this is civilian footage revealing some of the first troop and equipment deployments in western Russia.

No one else could get this close, TikTok is really providing an unprecedented view of military preparations in real-time.

However, several witness videos on TikTok of Russia’s troop build-up are yet to be confirmed.

Is TikTok a reliable source for understanding politics?

Russian defence policy expert, Rob Lee, said on Twitter that a lot of the Russian military videos are yet to be fact-checked.

“Most of the changes in Russian military posture near Ukraine have been observed publicly on social media before it has been confirmed by US government officials,”

he says.

Social media researcher, Dr Karen Sutherland, says that any content on TikTok still needs to be fact-checked to see if it is accurate before assuming that it’s credible as videos are coming from citizen journalists rather than trained journalists.

“TikTok has provided a platform for younger creators to explain current world events in their own words and in ways that are more accessible and digestible than the traditional news media,”

she says.

Below is a video of TikTok user @iamlegallyhype explaining the tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

@iamlegallyhype

#Russia has 70% of the forces needed to invade #Ukraine and it’s getting a little scary in the streets. #TeamofTomorrow #learnontiktok

♬ Spongebob Tomfoolery – Dante9k Remix – David Snell

What are the advantages of TikTok being used to educate younger audiences? 

Dr Sutherland says the platform may increase interest and awareness of important world issues.

“The way news is being communicated on TikTok is very innovative and is reaching millions of people as a result,”

she says.

So as tensions build on Ukraine’s border, the footage being posted online will be a valuable new tool for further Russian military movements.

A more digestible and entertaining way to inform young people

Young people are turning to Tiktok for Australian political content as well.

According to 21-year-old Lachlan from Brisbane, who is behind the large anti-Liberal Party TikTok account ‘Gen Z for Albo,’ young people are don’t really have a reliable source of political information that’s easy to process.

“Some people genuinely don’t know a thing about politics, but because we presented something in a way that they could understand… they’re getting the point that we’re trying to make and then they’re able to explain that to their friends and their circle,”

he told hack.
@genzforalbo

disgusting morrison, Gough would be proud of Albo. #fyp #auspol #goughwhitlam #albo4pm

♬ Come Over (Again) – Crawlers

As the page has around 45,000 followers, it’s clear that TikTok is playing a role in young people becoming increasingly engaged with politics.

Savannah Pocock contributed to this report

Business

Taco Bell owners close to selling KFC in Russia

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KFC is known for finger lickin’ chicken, but the secret herbs and spices will soon be swept away from Russians

The company behind Russia’s KFC business is close to selling

This is all part of its plan to exit the country’s market.

Yum Brans plans to fully exit Russia once the KFC transaction is complete.

Since March, Yum has been redirecting any profits from its Russian operations to humanitarian efforts.

The restaurant company added it is stopping all investment, restaurant development and operations in the country.

It sold its Russian Pizza Hut franchises, which re-branded in may.

The Taco Bell owner is the latest Western restaurant operator to wind down its Russian operations, closing the doors of about one thousand KFC locations

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Ukraine Crisis

At least two killed, seven wounded in Russian shelling of Sloviansk

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A central market went up in flames in Ukraine’s east

Russian shelling caused a market ablaze in Ukraine’s eastern city of Sloviansk, killing two people and injuring seven.

The mayor of the region says the city was being hit by Russian artillery salvoes from closer positions, as it became a frontline city.

With massive shelling, the Donetsk governor called on everyone to evacuate.

It’s clear Russia is seeking to control all of the eastern industrial Donbas area.

The area comprises the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, and President Vladimir Putin claims it’s all part of Russia.

Meanwhile as it combats Russian aggression, Ukraine’s Armed Forces published a video captured from inside of Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jets

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Ukraine Crisis

Finland, Sweden another step closer to full NATO membership

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Finland and Sweden are a step closer to full NATO membership after all thirty NATO allies signed an accession protocol.

It will be NATO’s biggest expansion in decades – but it likely won’t happen in full for at least a year.

NATO allies signed an accession protocol for Finland and Sweden to join the military alliance in Brussels on Tuesday (July 5).

Ankara had previously threatened to scupper their chances of joining.

Both Nordic countries gave assurances to Turkey in response that they would do more to fight terrorism – and Turkey backed down.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg hailed the historic move,

This is truly an historic moment […] with 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger.

JENS StOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL

This protocol allows Helsinki and Stockholm to take part in NATO meetings, and have greater access to intelligence.

But the ratification process can take up to a year or more.

Neither country will be protected by NATO’s defence clause – where an attack on one is considered an attack on all during that time.

THE DUMA IS RUSSIA’S PARLIAMENT


Meanwhile, Russia’s Duma announced two bills that would put Russia onto a more aggressive wartime economy.

The first bill would allow Russia’s government to demand businesses supply the military with goods.

The second bill would oblige employees to be available to work overtime, nights, and forego additional pay in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The bills need a second and third reading, approval by Russia’s upper house, and be signed by Vladimir Putin before they would become law

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