West Bank Snapchat Gets Tons of Love

Palestinians are seizing the chance to share their perspective with Snapchat's "Live Stories"

Snapchat's logo, dappled in non-partisan sunlight — REUTERS
Jul 09, 2015 at 10:43 AM ET

Snapchat is live streaming posts from the West Bank on Thursday, two days after a “Live Stories” stream showcasing life in Israel sparked outrage from Palestinians. Viewers’ online celebrations with the #WestBankLive hashtag immediately started on Thursday, trending in cities around the world, including Paris, Los Angeles and Miami.

Snapchat‘s livestream of Tel Aviv on Tuesday touched off a slew of anti-Israel sentiments on Twitter. The photo app’s “Live Stories” feature, which is a curated stream of user-submitted Snaps from various locations, was unwittingly scheduled during the anniversary of last summer’s violent conflict with Gaza. Palestinians and their supporters around the world demanded equal attention, and on Thursday they got it. The stream is currently featuring live posts from users in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.

Palestinian youths have long complained that foreign media dehumanizes them by exclusively focusing on violence, so the Snapchat livestream was a welcomed opportunity to broadcast their own stories. Their Snaps appear to be exuberant and fun, as they invite viewers to celebrate Palestine along with them. At least one user alluded to the conflict by pointing at the a view of the Separation Barrier from a window, and some posted pictures of checkpoints and settlements, but what the Snaps have in common is an emphasis on every day life over politics.

Snapchat has not officially said the West Bank stream came from Tuesday’s backlash, but the timing of it has led local media to report that it was an effort to make amends for overlooking Palestine’s users.

Within hours of going live, Twitter was already flooded with posts thanking Snapchat for listening and celebrating the West Bank Snapchat users.

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Snapchat takes Tel Aviv, sparks anti-Israel outrage (The Jerusalem Post)