TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a video-focused social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to three minutes. TikTok is an international version of Douyin, which was originally released in the Chinese market in September 2016.
The TikTok videos from around Kursk—all of which have had their location verified by the CIR—provide a snapshot of how powerful open source intelligence, also known as OSINT, has become. The videos contribute to media reports and policy discussions. They can be low quality and poorly framed, but they show exactly what is happening at a specific moment in time.
However, there are risks. Those sharing footage from Russia and Ukraine—including open source investigators, journalists, and people on social media—could wind up amplifying incorrect information if it has not first been verified. “We will have to be careful consumers of information—suspicious to the possibility of active measures designed to fool us,” Sandra Joyce, an executive vice president and head of global intelligence at security firm Mandiant, wrote in a blog post.
—WIRED, “If Russia Invades Ukraine, TikTok Will See It Up Close”
[This is an example of a novel and beneficial use of social media.]