Written by Rumi Salija
In today’s age of social media and Generation Z (Gen Z) “taking over” the world, there is a new modern approach to military defence. Ordinary citizens record military activities on their phones and post videos on social media. The social media app TikTok, which is often associated with dance trends, is currently being used to watch a very different kind of choreography: the movement of military forces that could be on the brink of a new severe conflict on European soil (Britton and Mulligan, 2022). The app has recently come into the spotlight as tensions between Russia and Ukraine have led to what could be called “the first TikTok conflict” (Bowman, 2022). Videos of Russian troops gathering at the borders of Ukraine are widely distributed on TikTok (Sonne et al., 2022). However, this is not the first time social media have been used to illuminate a conflict from the ground up. The instinct to turn to social media in a crisis – and the use of similar techniques by armchair detectives and internet sleuths – has been an essential tool in navigating events during the Arab Spring in the early 2010s (Brown, Guskin and Mitchell, 2012).