Two days after Snapchat debuted their Tel Aviv story depicting life in Israel, aptly timed on the anniversary of last summer’s Gaza War, and sparking outrage from Palestinians for not representing both sides of the conflict, did the app begin live streaming stories of the West Bank.
After Snapchat published a live stream of Tel Aviv this week, Palestinian uproar ignited on social media and demanded equal attention, and Palestinians gained just that with app showcasing life in the West Bank.
The user-submited snaps range from lighthearted —featuring adorable puppies and a man dancing — to the ultra-serious as posts of checkpoints, the Israeli settlements and the Separation Wall are shown, so as not to shy away from the conflict and reflect the overall reality of the West Bank. Yet, for the most part, the snaps represent everyday life and Palestinian culture so around the world people can understand Palestinians as normal and fun rather than the media’s regular depiction of the people as militant and violent.
West Bank snapchat got me like pic.twitter.com/LAhyTZ2Wtn— ath shalash (@athy_shalash) July 9, 2015
The falafel, katayef, and shawarma, on the #WestBank Snapchat story makes me want to visit Ramallah so badly!— Noor Tagouri (@NTagouri) July 9, 2015
While Snapchat has not officially said the West Bank stream is a direct response to the backlash, timing and speculation has concluded that the company is aiming to make amends and present a balanced view of the conflict.
However, to Snapchat’s detriment, Twitter users are accusing the company of actually representing a censored view of the West Bank.
The West Bank snapchat is all well and good until you realise how it has been hand picked and a lot of it censored— Sumaiyah (@koalasaremytype) July 9, 2015
.@Snapchat responds to outrage over Tel Aviv story w/ West Bank story. Israeli occupation soldiers are mysteriously absent.— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) July 9, 2015
Scenes of Israeli occupation are so minimal on the West Bank Live story on @Snapchat.When in reality it is a huge part of our everyday life.— F. (@Palestinianism) July 9, 2015
Some even noted that Israelis are shown on the West Bank story to further heighten tensions in the Snapchat debate.
Not only is the content from the West Bank on Snapchat Live being heavily censored, some of those being featured are Israeli settlers.— Mahmoud (@MahmoudRamsey) July 9, 2015
Snapchat's possible filtering of content not only highlights media's one-sided view, but also how the Israeli occupation further cements itself in Palestinians' everyday lives.
Waiting for them to post more on the West Bank story but remembering Israel controls the Internet and electricity??— mamacita (@Miss_Palestine_) July 9, 2015