Commentary, Digital Life, Human Rights, Lebanon, Published Work

Why the world grieved for Paris and not Beirut

As Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded, people around the world tuned in to watch blanket coverage of the events. Facebook activated a feature allowing Parisians to check in as “safe.” By Saturday, millions of people had added a filter of the French flag to their profile pictures to show solidarity with Paris. Continue reading

Digital Life, Published Work

Love Apptually: Dating in the Age of Big Data

Valentine’s day is upon us, and romance is in the air – or at least, flashing across your smartphone screen. Digital technologies have infiltrated just about every aspect of our lives – including matters of the heart. Apps like Tinder have drastically transformed the ways that we connect, form social bonds, and fall in love. In honour of Valentine’s Day, Digital Tattoo is delving into the impact of these disruptive technologies. Continue reading

Commentary, Digital Life, Human Rights

The atrocities will be tweeted

Why social media may be the great equalizer in the Arab-Israeli propaganda war.

A version of this article was originally published on Now Lebanon on 25 July 2014.

Rihanna is no stranger to controversy. The singer is notorious for her outspoken social media presence, and has more than once been suspended from Instagram for posting racy content. There was one message, however, that proved too contentious even for the most uninhibited of celebrities: #FreePalestine. Continue reading

Commentary, Digital Life

Hashing out the hashtag

How a hashtag crowdsourced the construction of a vocabulary for discussing feminism in the 21st century.

Following a horrific shooting in Santa Barbara that left seven students dead and over a dozen injured, news of the massacre spread on social media like wildfire. In the days that followed, it was uncovered that the shooter had a YouTube channel dedicated to promoting misogynistic ideas, and had left a deep Internet archive documenting hateful and disturbing tendencies. This discovery shifted on and offline conversations of the incident from gun control and mental health to a more overarching discussion of the everyday sexism and misogyny that runs rampant and often unchecked in societies worldwide.

Women around the world took to Twitter to share their stories, mobilizing through the #YesAllWomen hashtag – a catchphrase designed to counter the #NotAllMen trend often used to discount complaints about misogyny. Within four days the hashtag had drawn over 1.2 million tweets, with women expressing their grievances and experiences with harassment, fear, and even violence. Continue reading

Commentary, Digital Life

Censorship versus Privacy: the implications of the “right to be forgotten”

A groundbreaking court case out of Europe may be redefining the boundaries shaping online identity. Google’s recent decision to respect the “right to be forgotten” has triggered a debate spotlighting the intersection of freedom of speech, censorship, and privacy rights.

The case was initially introduced by Mario Costeja Gonzalez, a Spanish businessman irked that a Google search for his name still turned up a 1998 newspaper article detailing his past financial woes, despite the fact that his debts had been paid off years before. A Spanish court referred his case to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg, which ruled in favor of the complaint. The historic decision determined that search engines do indeed have a duty to ensure that data deemed “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” does not appear in their results. In a more sweeping ruling, the court also declared that ordinary citizens have a right to request that search engines remove links to sites that may provide excessive personal data about them. Continue reading

Commentary, Digital Life, Lebanon

On Slacktivism and Objectification: Why #StripforJackie Misses the Point

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon.

In the wake of Lebanon’s latest pseudo scandal, Olympic skier Jackie Chamoun has been vilified for a three year old photo-shoot in which she posed topless. In a particularly poignant logical fallacy, even for Lebanese governmental standards, Minister Faisal Karami has requested an investigation into the shoot.

The irony that a minister considers a pair of breasts more of a threat to the country’s international reputation than weekly car bombings, crumbling infrastructure and rampant corruption is so absurd that it requires no further comment. The reaction to the scandal has been as visceral as it has been viral. And while the hearts of those involved may be in the right place, the movement, like so many in Lebanon, may be missing the point entirely, if not demonstrating the country’s inability to rally for meaningful social action. Continue reading