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@M17Live - Recreating a Tragedy on Twitter

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It's been a year since Malaysian Airlines flight M17 crashed over the Ukraine and the investigation into the exact cause is still ongoing. The most plausible evidence still suggests the the commercial airliner was hit by a Russian Buk missile launcher as it passed over Ukraine on its way to Kuala Lumpur. The investigation has been plagued by controversy and confidentially issues as factions of Russian and Ukrainian armed forces both blamed each other for the tragedy, which claimed the lives of all 298 passengers.
Now, a new, social media-led chapter in the investigation has surfaced in the form of the M17 Live Twitter account. Set up by Bellingcat, a UK private investigation group, the page has been using social media data, photos and news to recreate the entire incident step-by-step last Friday, the actual year anniversary of the crash.
The hope, ostensibly, is that by laying out all the events as they happened, some new light will be shed on the disaster which will help the gruelling investigation finally come to a close, as well as reminding everyone that even a year later, this is an issue that still needs to be addressed.

Aside from the practical applications, the insight that the live feed offers into the crash is nothing short of bone-chilling. Tweets and Instagram posts taken by passengers before take-off, descriptions of sightings of the rocket from the ground, (alleged) communication transcripts between separatist forces and much more. It's a deeply unsettling narrative and one that certainly shouldn't have faded from public purview as quickly as it did.
Scrolling through the feed provides a very clear narrative of events and a largely unbiased one, with any direct suggestions that Russian forces fired the missile coming from eyewitnesses. The overall focus of the effort seems to be a reassertion of the fact that, even before the crash was reported as a commercial airliner, Russian forces were already being credited. That's the real 'truth' that is most evident here and it's hard to get away from. The actual Dutch investigation into the cause won't wrap up until the end of the year, but even then it's distinctly possible that no concrete conclusions will be reached, with EU/Russian relations as delicate as they are.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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@M17Live - Recreating a Tragedy on Twitter Reviewed by Callum Davies on Monday, July 20, 2015 Rating: 5

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