Snapchat Under Fire for Featuring Tel Aviv and Sets Up West Bank Live
After Snapchat launched a live feed from Tel Aviv on the anniversary of Israel's offensive on Gaza, social media was ablaze, prompting the social network to create a live feed from Palestine today.
Last Tuesday, Snapchat decided to feature Tel Aviv in their LIVE stories stream, in an ironic, inconvenient, nearly absurd coincidence with the one-year anniversary of Israel’s offensive on Gaza. The move set Twitter ablaze: as Tel Aviv dwellers shared colourful snaps of the city’s beaches, fun parks, and partying youth, social media users flooded their feeds with photos of the destruction caused by the 2013 offensive in Gaza.
Hashtags like #We_want_Gaza_Live and #TelAviv were trending as enraged users protested the platform’s controversial decision. After the social media storm, Snapchat announced that they are featuring the West Bank, Palestine today, in a seemingly apologetic gesture after featuring Tel Aviv on the same day as the anniversary of a massacre that ended the life of 2,200 Palestinians and 70 Israelis in Gaza.
Snapchat's “Stories” stream highlights different cities, people and their photos from around the world, giving its users an insight into the daily happenings of users in cities such as Dubai, New York, and LA. Last June, the platform had announced the Cairo story, though they later postponed it for unknown reasons.
Don't open #TelAvivLife, you might get shot by an Israeli sniper just for fun— سلمي' (@El_salmaaa) July 9, 2015
Tel Aviv snapchat story got me like pic.twitter.com/56WenTPqoG
— Khalid (@_Falas6eeni) July 7, 2015
Although not all reactions questioned the photo-sharing platform’s initiative, they all coincided in calling on Snapchat to feature Palestine as well, in order to fairly depict the region. “The #TelAviv Snapchat is interesting because it shows what a vibrant, fun, and abundant place Tel Aviv is. A side of Israel that is not openly promoted because it shows that its citizens are not living in bunkers or in constant fear like the media has reported all these years,” Emirati media entrepreneur Mohamed Parham Al Awadhi posted on Facebok. ”Now imagine Snapchat allowing for a West Bank or Gaza Snapchat. Teenagers and millennials around the world will be able to compare two people's living conditions (Palestinian and Israelis) and eventually ask why the world is allowing this?” he added.
The platform’s decision to feature West Bank Live today was broadly celebrated by users, whose pictures will be available through Snapchat’s "live-story" for 24 hours.
— Sol Márquez (@elmaryelsol) July 9, 2015
July 9, 2015
#WestBankLive is an opportunity for a lot of us Arabs who dream about visiting Palestine but won't get an opportunity in our lifetime— Noor #gaza غزة# #ksa (@nawwarah82) July 9, 2015
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