Fast Company

16. For helping us believe our eyes

Early one morning in April 2017, a series of horrific photos and videos began hitting Facebook and YouTube showing civilians in a rebel-held area of northern Syria writhing on the ground and gasping for oxygen as deadly sarin-based gas—which witnesses said was dropped from the sky by the Syrian government—filled their lungs. It was one of the worst chemical attacks in the country’s nearly decade-long conflict, yet the United Nations Security Council failed to adopt a resolution to intervene. They were stymied by Russia and its allies, who dismissed the visual evidence as staged.

“Other countries—people who wanted to deny the reality of what was going on in Syria—undermined the validity of user-generated content,” says Mounir Ibrahim, who was serving as an adviser to then UN Ambassador Nikki Haley at the time. “It was a surprisingly effective

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