Selfie Nation

Israelis Can’t Stop Taking ‘Bomb Shelter Selfies’

2014!. (Photo: Facebook)

As the violent conflict between Israel and Gaza continues, Israelis are passing time in the most 2014 way possible: They’re taking selfies.

The new phenomenon, dubbed “bomb shelter selfies” as reported by the Jerusalem Post, is a group picture of smiling people waiting out their time until the missile warning sirens stop emitting their terrifying noise. A Facebook group dedicated to the trend has amassed more than 1,500 likes in the past few days. Read More

In Hindsight

The Best of Betabeat: A 2012 Retrospective

BETA BEAT Celebrates The Pitch Series

As 2011 came to a close, we looked back at our most popular posts. But this year, we’re a little older (a mature year and nine months!), a lot wiser, and thought we’d try something a little different. Thank you for reading!

LONGREADS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Take a Hard Line on the Internet at Rally of 40,000 Men (And Me) In which our intrepid reporter sneaks into Citi Field in drag. 

Faith, Hope, and Singularity: Entering the Matrix with New York’s Futurist Set It’s the end of the world as we know it, and they feel fine. Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Pro-Gaza Hackers Completely Dismantle Israeli Official’s Social Media

screengrab

Israel and Hamas may have agreed to cease hostilities on “land sea and air” but that may not stop the cyberwar. On Wednesday the ZCompany Hacking Crew (ZHC) hacked apart the online life of Israel’s Vice Prime Minister, Silvan Shalom. ZHC took over Mr. Shalom’s Facebook, Twitter account, his blog–just about everything. ZHC tweeted that their control was almost total: Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Even a Billion Dollars Isn’t Cool Edition

So close to this, you guys. (Photo: Pinterest, duh)

Actually, being in the billion dollar startup club kind of sucks. [New York Times]

Any person with children who purchases a computer in the U.K. will be forced to apply anti-porn safety controls to it, because there’s absolutely no way kids who want to look at porn will be able to get around that. [Daily Mail]

Cisco balls so hard they just dished out $1.2 billion in cash for Meraki, a wifi startup. [TechCrunch]

How did nerds impact the election? Turns out 30,000 Redditors registered to vote after President Obama linked to a voter registration page in his AMA. [The Atlantic]

According to U.S. search results, Americans care more about Twinkies than the Israel/Gaza conflict. We are all the worst. [Virtus Machina]

Twitter War

Social Media Companies Have Absolutely No Idea How to Handle the Gaza Conflict

(Screencap: Twitter)

After announcing their intention to attack Hamas on Twitter, the Israeli Defense Force began military operations in Gaza yesterday. The Alqassam Brigades, Hamas’s military arm, also has a Twitter account, and the two have been engaging in a sparring match on the platform that elevates typically meaningless Twitter tiffs into the stuff of WWIII nightmares.

Aside from updating their followers on the death toll and the status of military strikes, both accounts have tweeted photos of children (warning: both links are graphic) injured or killed in the conflict. The IDF is letting no social media channel go untouched. They’ve been uploading photos of their operations to Flickr and Pinterest and publishing status updates to their official Facebook page. They also just started a Tumblr account that is littered with pro-Israel propaganda, including a photo showing a cartoon of an Israeli family in the crosshairs of a Hamas target with the message “Israeli civilians are Hamas’s target.” Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

Anonymous Launches #OPIsrael in Response to Israel’s Live-Tweeted Attack on Gaza

(Screencap: Falcon-s.co.il)

Yesterday, the Israeli Defense Force announced on Twitter it would begin military operations on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. Though social media has long been used as a tool of dissent that can help foment revolution, declaring war on Twitter is a first, and it’s a move that raises serious questions about war and propaganda in the age of the internet. Now Anonymous, the loose collective of hacktivists, has set its sights on the IDF, launching #OPIsrael in response to the country’s decision to shut down internet service in Gaza. Read More

Twitter War

Strange Twitter First: Israel’s IDF Tweets Announcement of Military Operation Against Hamas

The IDF's Twitter banner. (Screengrab)

In what is surely a weird moment for Twitter, bastion of cat-fights between tech bloggers and hashtag memes entirely devoted to stupid crap people do when they drink, Israel’s Defense Forces today announced a major operation against Hamas. As Fast Company noted, this “was the first confirmation made to the media of an official military campaign” via Twitter.

The IDF’s announcement is serious business. The tweets speak for themselves: Read More