The role of digital companies has been highlighted, as due to the quarantine, as people have ended up quarantined in their homes. And along with the rise of the internet traffic around the world people started to interact more with digital companies
This has particularly been used by governments to spread information to the public about the coronavirus, like in the Great Britain where the government is willing to pay and cooperate with information creators in order to fight disinformation
and support businesses who are facing a serious financial hit due to the pandemic.
In Ukraine, the situation with the spread of internet access is quite sufficient for the population to access the possibilities of digital usage. According to the Ministry of Digital Transformation at the moment around 70% of Ukrainian territory is covered by high-speed internet
. Thus, people have access to social media and are affected by influencers and digital practices that government, business and private citizens use. At the beginning of the Covid-19 spread in Ukraine, the situation with communicating the pandemic and its consequences were not originally government policy . People were getting information from news coverage, and were becoming frightened by the reality and the amount of information and competing stories. As a result in the beginning people could be easily manipulated to protest, or demand the isolation of the sick. The majority of Ukrainians were also unaware of how the disease spread and the best practices of protection. The biggest and most vivid example was the protest in Novi Sanzhary,. On the 20th
February around 72 evacuated people from Wuhan were transferred from China toNovi Sanzhary, where a closed medical center was controlled by the head of the Ukrainian National Guard. The decision to place the 72 patients there caused a riot as the local population feared the spread of Coronavirus. The protests resulted in the blocking of the road and protesters throwing stones at the bus carrying the patients
Later, it was confirmed that none of the evacuated people were sick. Such an event raised the issue of proper communication with the population: the facts about the disease, the ways to protect people, and the lowering of the fear of those that lacked proper information. On behalf of the government, the President Volodymyr Zelenskiy instigated daily speeches on television, notifying the populace about the numbers of infected, the situation with coronavirus tests
on both television and social media.
Similarly, city mayors, like Volodymyr Klitchko in Kyiv
became very active on social media, in order to spread information on Covid-19 as Kyiv had one of the biggest infection rates in Ukraine. In particular, Klitchko became one of the most active digital influencers from the government side, producing videos with online challenges to stay at home and describing the situation in Kyiv. One interesting case was Klitchko's experiment of targeting various audiences through messages about the pandemic . For instance, Klitchko uses Tik Tok to address the younger population, and as Tik Tok at present has almost 6 million Ukrainian users, and with Ukrainian hashtags gathering millions of likes (footnote), more and more influencers are using the app (footnote). Tik Tok is even more popular than Instagram or Facebook in Ukraine