Ukraine conflict, Metaverse trouble and the “Freedom Convoy” 

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Tension in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has increased as U.S. officials warn of an invasion. Russia positioned 130,000 troops on three sides of Ukraine leading to Ukrainian military officers training civilians for war. Last Thursday, President Biden urged U.S. citizens to leave Ukraine as soon as possible. 

“It’s not like we’re dealing with a terrorist organization. We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. It’s a very different situation, and things could go crazy quickly,” Biden said in an NBC interview.  

For many Ukrainian citizens, conflict has already begun with Cyber-attacks and fake bomb threats that have been the latest escalation from Russia, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. U.S. officials warn of imminent invasions that could occur during the Olympics.   

“We continue to see signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a White House press briefing. “As we’ve said before, we are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time should Vladimir Putin decide to order it”. 

In other news, Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg lost $31 billion last week as reported by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Last quarter, the company had a decline in users for the first time in 17 years. In a call with stock market analytics, Zuckerberg talked about the competition Meta, the parent company of Facebook, faces from other apps such as TikTok. He said TikTok engages a younger demographic, and Meta CFO David Wehner reinforced the idea in an earnings call.   

“We believe competitive services are negatively impacting growth, particularly with younger audiences,” Wehner said in a Vox article titled “Facebook is shrinking.” 

Currently, the Apple iOS regulations pose a major challenge to Meta. The regulations make it harder for Facebook to target audiences with advertisements. Meta approximates that the new regulations could cost the company $10 billion, according to a Business Insider article.  

North of the border, trucker anti-vaccine mandate protests called the “Freedom Convoy,” originating in Canada, may be planning to spread to Washington D.C. next month. Last week, truck drivers wreaked havoc in Ottawa as protesters blared their vehicles horns and created a blockade along the Canadian and U.S. border, as reported by the Canadian Press and Lucas Casaletto. Following this, the mayor of Ottawa has declared a state of emergency. The opposition to the vaccine mandate aims to expand to the U.S. The protests have already spread to Paris, France, as well.   

The Facebook group “Convoy to D.C. 2022” has been a major player in planning the convoy to D.C. The group previously had over 100,000 members but was taken down by Facebook for violating policies surrounding QAnon according to an article in the Guardian. Although members of the group have denied posting about the conspiracy, there have been radical demonstrators in the movement. Recently, the blockade between the U.S. and Canada has been cleared but fears of the protest’s spread are growing. Tensions are still high in Ottawa and around the U.S.

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