In 2016, it’s now possible to see a full on war going happening live on your Facebook feed, and you’ve even got the ability to communicate how you feel about it via the power of emoji. 2016 people.
The long planned advance of Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by the US led coalition, into the city of Mosul – ISIS’s last remaining stronghold in Iraq – was live streamed on Facebook via many different news networks. These included Al Jazeera and Rudaw, the Kurdish news agency that originally started the stream using a camera that was set up as safely as possible to Mosul and then zooming in as far as they could go.
The Al Jazeera stream had roughly 875,000 followers, many of whom chose to share their feelings through an emoji. Elizabeth Quintana, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, a London-based defence and security research organisation, explained why a live stream was necessary despite many people thinking that it’s kinda crass:
IS have been extremely good at web-based propaganda, recruitment online and getting the message online using high quality videos of their own operations.
So it doesn’t surprise me that Kurdish fighters are taking the fight to them online and on the ground.
It’s certainly to undermine the message that IS has been putting out that they are undefeatable.
This does make a lot of sense, as I’m sure we can all agree that ISIS do have an excellent social media presence that does sometimes serve to make us feel unsafe and scared over here. So in fairness it probably is important that they’re undermined by live streams such as this showing what is really going on. It just seems kind of crass that you can comment and use emojis on them, but I suppose that’s the world we live in now and we had better get used to it unfortunately.
Let’s just hope that the operation goes as smoothly as possible for everyone involved and that ISIS are finally driven out of there. Unfortunately the UN warned that as many as 700,000 of the city’s 1.2 million people would be forced to flee during the conflict. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to that extent and it’s resolved as swiftly as possible, but I doubt that will be the case. Maybe I should express my sentiments via an emoji.
For more live-streaming of a slightly less serious nature, check out this gamer who forgot he was livestreaming and decided to have a wank instead. Lol.