Photos Posted On Reddit Purportedly Lead To Casualties In Ukraine, Causing Memers To Learn What OPSEC Is

March 24th, 2022 - 3:15 PM EDT by Aidan Walker

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A 4chan post laying out a theory blaming Redditors for an airstrike with images of rubble and Reddit posts, a Tweet criticizing the Redditors.

Since its beginning one month ago, Russia's war in Ukraine has attracted foreign volunteers who want to support the Ukrainians, but recent incidents have caused some to wonder whether those volunteer fighters are hurting the cause more than they are helping.

According to some unverified reports, locations that volunteer fighters shared photos of on Reddit were recently destroyed by Russian artillery or airstrikes, leading to many deaths (purportedly 300 casualties). Whether the places in the photos taken by volunteers are the same as those in images of rubble left after the Russian airstrikes is unconfirmed. It’s also unclear whether Reddit is a source of intelligence for the Russian military, but the topic is prominently discussed in various Reddit posts.

A 4chan post mocking Redditors for taking photos and videos in Ukraine and posting them online circulated widely, with many criticizing Redditors in Ukraine's Foreign Legion for what they saw as naïveté and recklessness.


Some Redditors who claimed to have training in OPSEC (Operational Security) chastised volunteers for endangering lives by posting photos and videos of secret locations. They theorized that the information needed to exactly locate the bases the volunteers posted from could be found in the metadata, imagery and the background audio in the volunteers’ posts. They also pointed out that IP addresses and smartphones can be tracked and used for targeting purposes by an enemy.


All the talk of OPSEC, which is something the U.S. military trains service members in, led many online to mock the lack of training among some volunteers for Ukraine. The pinned post on /r/VolunteersforUkraine, the subreddit where English-speaking volunteers organize logistics, discuss plans and coordinate travel to Ukraine, is an in-depth description of what a combat zone is like that cautions against going to fight in Ukraine without proper training. But according to many self-proclaimed experts online, the volunteers for Ukraine are not following this advice, especially when it comes to OPSEC.




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