By Buddy Blouin
Each year on October 13, we celebrate the birth of the United States Navy. But this year, many Americans seemed to be also celebrating many naval ships belonging to another government. You can’t believe everything that you read, see, or hear, and you can believe even less of it if it’s online. While meant with good intentions, a recent debacle of misinformation involving the Russian navy is a great reminder to politicians, civilians, and those within the military to think twice before you post.

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How Many Ships in Russian Navy?

The Russian navy features over 290 watercraft as a part of its naval service. This includes various boats, warships, and submarines that are either in use, being constructed, or in Russia’s reserve. Russian navy ships have been on the minds of many around the world a bit more than usual throughout 2022. But many have also unknowingly praised the fleet through misassociation. If you were online and took part in celebrating the annual anniversary of the start of the U.S. Navy, then you may have seen some of their fleets presented on various websites and social platforms. This is because some of the nearly 300 ships in Russian navy were used on images wishing American Sailors a happy birthday for their branch, rather than the U.S. vessels.

American Ships, Russian Ships, and Social Media

Social media still has its place and purpose. When used correctly, the many platforms available to users present a great opportunity to engage in boisterous communities, enjoy entertainment, connect with friends, keep memories, and much more. We have more options than ever, which also means there's more content than ever, but within this lies a recurring problem: misinformation spreading throughout the World Wide Web. Nobody's ever going to be 100% on deciphering every piece of media, but it’s important to think twice before we post. This is particularly true for members of the American Armed Forces, as what troops post, to a very real extent, is a reflection of their position, branch, and the U.S. military as a whole. The snafu caused a bit of a stir when the Twitter account belonging to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) job recruitment department, as well as the director of field operations for the CBP's Los Angeles office, Carlos Martel, wished the Navy a happy birthday with Russian ships as the graphic. Furthermore, not only did the posts contain media showcasing the Russian navy, but it also included patriotic themes with the Navy seal included. Obviously, not the look American Sailors are going for. Ships of Russian navy fleets showed up in the tweets of politicians and political candidates and may have even found their way to your own social media feed, depending on who you follow and what you post. But it’s always important to self-audit and make sure that you’re sharing media from a trusted source. It’s also very important to understand when, how, where, and who is allowed to use official trademarks and insignias belonging to any branch of the U.S. military. In 2016, Pakistan threatened Israel with nuclear war because of fake news article in an extreme example showcasing the real-life consequences that social media can have in politics. Seemingly harmless or not, it’s always important for any member of the U.S. military to remember their social media guidelines and use discretion when posting anything online.

How Many Aircraft Carriers Does the Russian Navy Have?

Russia only has one aircraft carrier that's used for its navy. Currently, it doesn’t even have it, either. Admiral Kuznetsov won't return to service before 2024, and seeing as it’s the only vessel of its kind at Russia’s disposal, this could be a huge disadvantage for them should warfare escalate. Ultimately, the Russian navy having its boats on content wishing America's Navy a happy birthday could just end up being a funny, awkward memory in the long run. But it doesn’t mean that political misinformation isn’t still out there looking to trip up both civilians and military personnel.

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Image: AFP




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