Video Game Footage Falsely Presented as Videos of Ukraine War

Editor's Note: The war in Ukraine is an ongoing, painful and emotive topic. IGN urges community members to be respectful when engaging in conversation around this subject and does not endorse harassment of any kind.

Footage from video games has been misattributed as real footage of the war in Ukraine, with social networks beginning to ramp up attempts to stop it spreading.

Some footage appears to have been purposely doctored to represent news coverage, misleading viewers about the true status of the war. Other footage seems to be being used simply as a means of receiving engagement on social media – even if unintentional, the harmful after-effect of this kind of post is in where it is shared without context afterwards, spreading misinformation in its own way.

Per Bloomberg, doctored gameplay of realistic military game Arma 3 was reportedly used as hoax news footage of combat in Ukraine. On Facebook and Twitter, these videos were pulled down, albeit after thousands of viewers had watched them.

Geopolitical and security analyst Michael A. Horowitz posted and then removed a separate video of what looked to be a fighter jet dogfight, but has seemingly been revealed to be altered footage of flight combat simulator DCS: World. At time of writing, the footage remains live on the official Twitter account of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence.

We've contacted the developers of Arma 3 and DCS: World for comment.

I have deleted footage of a plane being shot down above Kharkiv as it seems to be from a video game.

That's a very realistic one.

Sorry for the mistake

— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) February 25, 2022

Game footage is only one part of the current misinformation puzzle, with clips of previous conflicts, military training exercises and more gaining traction on numerous social media platforms. Facebook owner Meta has subsequently announced the creation of a Special Operations Center to combat misinformation alongside hate speech and added privacy protections for Ukrainian users.

As with all such situations, in your own use of social media, approach videos like these with a dose of scepticism. The BBC has a concise set of tips for spotting fake news, including checking sources, assessing the kinds of language used, zooming into images to check locations, checking the legitimacy of the account, and more. If you do see false videos, images, or information, all major social media platforms include reporting tools, with some specifically including a branch of reports for misleading posts.

The invasion of Ukraine has garnered widespread calls for support and aid from the games industry, both inside and outside of Ukraine itself.

A number of humanitarian aid organizations are currently accepting donations and support for their efforts to help Ukrainians impacted by the war. They include:

  • Save the Children: On the ground right now providing humanitarian aid to children.
  • UNICEF: Providing emergency supplies and safe water to communities, as well as care for children on the ground and who have been separated from families.
  • Project HOPE: Sending medical supplies and providing health care for refugees.

Joe Skrebels is IGN's Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].

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