As I browsed YouTube the algorithm began to suggest videos of various conflicts, most notably from Syria, Ukraine and Afghanistan. The videos were often short ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes. The content varies from skirmishes between opposing forces, artillery and drone strikes. The videos uploaded to YouTube archive these conflicts and YouTube has been criticized for removing videos that could provide evidence of war crimes but this project is not about that debate. More can be read on that subject here.
This is about the experience of the average viewer and the disconnect between the online world and the real world. There is little to no information provided for these videos and they become even further removed from context when viewed alongside non related entertainment material. This creates a disconnect between the viewer and the reality of what they are seeing. This becomes most notable in the comment section. I began screenshotting comments that I believed represented this disconnect. I then took screenshots of frames of the videos and isolated certain parts, further removing the event from its original context and enhancing the disconnect between the comments and video content.
The videos that YouTube does not remove stay on their platform because they believe they can be of educational purposes. However, the lack of information surrounding them negates this. The comments section is the last place to look for a critical discussion on the events occurring in these videos as viewers entrench themselves in their beliefs and proclaim support or disdain for what is occurring. When conflicts are currently ongoing do commentators such as these become active participants, skirmishing in the comments section of conflict video?