A Surge of Unifying Moral Outrage Over Russia’s War

A Surge of Unifying Moral Outrage Over Russia’s War

Big tech companies like Google, Meta and Apple have taken several steps to counter the Russian disinformation that proved so effective in the past. At the same time, their platforms have revealed growing Russian opposition to Mr. Putin’s war and allowed Ukrainian influencers to display the courage of a nation where, from rural village to metropolis, nobody appears to be surrendering.

If the idea of truth, in the United States as elsewhere, appeared to have been lost in the disorienting bombardment of social media, with the line between fact and falsehood ever fainter, the sheer enormity of Russian lies — the denial of the existence of a war, for example — appears to have done something to restore its value and importance.

“Who else but us?” said Zakhar Nechypor, a Ukrainian actor, as he armed himself with a rifle. Who else indeed and what truth more raw?

Ivan Andronic, a plumber who moved from his native Moldova to France 18 years ago, said in an interview that he felt his mother and mother-in-law back in Moldova were now at risk. Mr. Putin could do anything, even embark on nuclear war. “He is very dangerous,” Mr. Andronic said. “We must fight him together, and his own population must turn on him.”

Togetherness is a word enjoying a revival. The Ukraine war appears to have dented a cycle of growing loneliness in which Covid-19 played a significant part. The unbearable lightness of online being has given way to the unbearable gravity of a European war.

A break has occurred in the world where people are corralled into herds by social media algorithms, trolls and bots. Where they forsake community to become tribes with megaphones. Where they turn in circles, succumbing to technological neuroticism. Above all, where they grow lonelier, caught in a vortex, starved of connective tissue, hungry for status, often bereft of moral conviction.

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