Developer Bohemia Interactive has asked users to stop using Arma 3 to fake news footage of warzones.
In a blog post, the Czech studio has asked that content creators be responsible with their videos of the game and not use "clickbait" titles to attract attention. Bohemia is also asked that people are clear about the fact that this footage originated in a video game.
The studio has also outlined ways that viewers can tell whether videos they are seeing of conflict areas are legitimate or not. The first is the resolution of the footage, with Bohemia pointing out that most modern smartphones shoot HD. Another is to see how shaky the camera is, with users often exaggerating this to seem more real.
Viewers need to be even more careful when footage is apparently taken at night, as this can hide the limitations of Arma 3's graphics. If videos don't feature sound, that's also a telltale sign as it's generally quite easy to tell whether audio is real or not.
It's also important to check to see if any of the video game's heads up display (HUD) appear, as well as whether particle effects look strange. Finally, viewers should do their due diligence
"While it's flattering that Arma 3 simulates modern war conflicts in such a realistic way, we are certainly not pleased that it can be mistaken for real-life combat footage and used as war propaganda," Bohemia PR manager Pavel Křižka said.
"It has happened in the past (Arma 3 videos allegedly depicted conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, and even between India and Pakistan), but nowadays this content has gained traction in regard to the current conflict in Ukraine. We've been trying to fight against such content by flagging these videos to platform providers (FB, YT, TW, IG etc.), but it's very ineffective. With every video taken down, ten more are uploaded each day. We found the best way to tackle this is to actively cooperate with leading media outlets and fact-checkers (such as AFP, Reuters, and others), who have better reach and the capacity to fight the spreading of fake news footage effectively."