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Standing with Ukraine: 6 ways the web is being used to help in Ukraine

Web Foundation · March 18, 2022

It’s devastating to see the hardship that the invasion of #Ukraine is inflicting. And at the same time, inspirational to see the courage and resilience shown by so many. We must do what we can to help #StandWithUkraine.

Tim Berners-Lee

We’re documenting and celebrating ways the web is being used to help during this crisis — reminders of why we must nurture and protect a safe, empowering web for everyone.

To communicate directly with people in Russia

With restrictions on the usual social media channels, antiwar activists took to review sites such as Google and TripAdvisor with news and images from the war in an attempt to speak directly to people in Russia. 

A Berlin-based design agency developed a web script which pushes a pop-up describing the war in Ukraine to any user with a Russian IP address:

To send money to people in Ukraine

To directly transfer cash to people in Ukraine, people are turning to platforms like Airbnb and Etsy:

To crowdsource transport and housing for people seeking safety

Web-based platforms like BlaBlaCar are being used to transport refugees to safety.

Ukraine Take Shelter is connecting Ukrainian refugees with potential hosts and housing. The site was co-developed by one of our 2021 #WebChampions, Avi Schiffmann:

And the @hostasister_ community is helping connect women and non-binary refugees and hosts who can provide emergency accommodation:

To activate international solidarity

Platforms like SupportUkraineNow and Razom for Ukraine have helped direct people across the world to ways they can give meaningful help:

Crowdfunders have helped raise millions of dollars for everything from emergency aid to supporting independent journalism:

To keep the internet on in both Ukraine and Russia

A crowdsourced hacking community is working to find and patch vulnerabilities in Ukraine’s web infrastructure to help the country defend itself in cyber warfare:

Antiwar activists and others trying to access and share information from Russia were severely restricted when the country blocked the privacy browser Tor. Tor and its users are helping circumvent this ban with the add-on Snowflake. 

Twitter has also worked with Tor to create a version of the social media platform that can evade Russian censors. 

To keep hope alive

And finally, amid the darkness and despair, people like concert violinist Vera Lytovchenko have shared their humanity and resilience, inspiring people across the world.

If you’ve seen other examples of the web being used for good in Ukraine, add them to our thread.

For more updates, follow us on Twitter at @webfoundation and sign up to receive our newsletter and The Web This Week, a weekly news brief on the most important stories in tech.

Tim Berners-Lee, our co-founder, gave the web to the world for free, but fighting for it comes at a cost. Please support our work to build a safe, empowering web for everyone.

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