social media

The Middle Eastern ice cream poised to swarm social media

When eating the ice cream sold at Republic of Booza in Brooklyn, you’ll find yourself chewing it. That’s the thing about booza, the Middle Eastern sweet treat that distinguishes itself from more commonly known ice cream and gelato by being denser and creamier and boasting an elasticity that allows it to truly stretch in form: It certainly looks like ice cream and might even slightly taste like it, but it doesn’t feel like it when actually eaten. At Republic of Booza, patrons can choose from a total of 17 rotating flavors on any given day. But only one resembles the original treat, still served at Bakdash, the ice cream shop in Damascus, Syria, that opened in 1885 as the very first booza shop in the world. Famed ice cream parlor Bakdash was founded in Damascus in 1885. Pistachio-covered boo...

This Self-Described “Chinese Peasant” Has Become the Twitter God of Drinking

From this tweet Streaming video can provide a unique perspective on under-seen aspects of ordinary life. One of the finest creators of such videos today is Liu Shichao, aka “Pangzai,” a self-dubbed “ordinary peasant” from China’s Hebei province. Over the past half year, he’s built one of the most genuinely inspiring and idiosyncratic bodies of video work in some time, evolving from simply posting clips showing off his incredible drinking skills to chronicling everyday life and culture in China. Though he may appear to hew closely to the standard vlogging form, Pangzai’s sense of style and framing distinguish his output as a vital and generous endeavor, especially in a time of increasing anti-Chinese sentiment in the West. This is the hardest man I’ve ever seen in my life pic.twitter.com/mu...

400 million social media users in India will lose anonymity under planned new government rules

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok will have to reveal users’ identities if Indian government agencies ask them to, according to the country’s controversial new rules for social media companies and messaging apps expected to be published later this month. The requirement comes as governments around the world are trying to hold social media companies more accountable for the content that circulates on their platforms, whether it’s fake news, child porn, racist invective or terrorism-related content. India’s new guidelines go further than most other countries’ by requiring blanket cooperation with government inquiries, no warrant or judicial order required. India proposed these guidelines in Dec. 2018 and asked for public comment. The Internet and Mobile Association of India, a trade grou...

The Artists Illustrating New York’s Growing Protest Culture

(courtesy Colleen Tighe) New York art workers are no strangers to class warfare. In an industry of elite cliques and hierarchies, few can truly advocate for radical change from within. Many of the institutions that once offered promising careers have been exposed for their cynical, greedy motives. As such, artists are turning away from low wages and professional abuse, focusing instead on direct action. Since 2016, young activists have rejuvenated the traditions of socialist feminism and anarchism in public art. Working largely outside of galleries, they are free to openly critique the alliances of capitalism, patriarchy, and government. Functioning as instruction and aesthetic, leftist political artwork links struggles of underprivileged communities with the structures keeping them in the...

In the War of Memes, Iran Is Trouncing the United States

Grave of Qasem Soleimani (photo by Mohammad Ali Marizad for Far News Agency) Watching the internet react to US-Iran relations has been quite the trip. With each new development comes a refreshed sense that we may soon be in another protracted war. President Donald Trump is escalating tensions time and again while directly appealing to his most fortified base — Americans who view him as a strongman defending a nation under siege. Accordingly, his administration and supporters have employed several disinformation tactics to justify US aggression toward Iran. ما شروع کننده جنگ نبودیم. ما متجاوز نبودیم. ما ترور نکردیم. ما از بمب اتم و شیمیایی و ناپالم و اورانیوم ضعیف شده استفاده نکردیم. ما با تحریم و محاصره و جنگ ملت‌های دیگر را ویران نکردیم.اما سه هزار سال اینجا ماندیم. «دفاع» مشروع ترین حق ا...

The War Over Images in Chile

Protest march in Santiago in October 2019 (photo by Felipe and Jairo Castilla, courtesy Wikimedia Commons) Better and more qualified people can make a political analysis of what’s happening in the ongoing Chilean uprising, but I can say that I feel deeply represented by the protests, with the chaos and overall message it’s sending to the political class. But due to my location in Santiago and the problems with public transportation, I’ve been unable to attend most of the protests in person. I’ve instead been getting information on events through social media, mainly posts by friends and colleagues who are able to keep up the good fight in the streets. I’ve lived enough years in this country to know that television won’t accurately portray what’s been happening each night under military cur...

Russian Artist Faces Six Years in Jail for Pro-LGBTQ Social Media Posts

An LGBT flag map of Russia (via Wikimedia Commons) Like many people around the world, Yulia Tsvetkova found community on social media. From the Russian Far East, the artist shared feminist and LGBTQ-friendly art to two social media pages. Now, the 26-year-old theater director faces six years in prison and was fined 50,000 rubles (roughly $780 in the States), put under two-months of house arrest, and charged with distributing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors,” despite both of the pages she managed being designated for adults. The messages Tsvetkova spread were ones of “female empowerment,” she told Radio Free Europe. Authorities also questioned her body-positive illustrations and the social campaign she launched, which affirms that women aren’t dolls and celebrat...

India and US Top List of Data Requests from TikTok, According to New Transparency Report

TikTok on iPhone (photo by Jasmine Weber/Hyperallergic) Under pressure for its alleged ties to the Chinese government and other security concerns, the developers behind TikTok published the company’s first “transparency report” on Monday, December 30, 2019. The report showed the number of requests for user data, content removal and copyright takedowns from governments around the world. The top two countries with the most requests for user data were India and the United States, respectively. China did not appear on its transparency report because technically, TikTok does not operate in China — its counterpart Douyin, which shares the same parent company ByteDance, operates in the country instead. According to TikTok, there are plans to continually release these transparency reports in the f...

Finding the right reporter to cover your startup

Pitch the wrong reporter or publication, and your story won’t see the light of day. Before you start seeking press, you’ll need to look for reporters who have reach, respect and expertise when you choose who to talk to. You’ll also need to be prepared to accept the truth about your business, even if it hurts. It’s critical that you find a writer who’s a good fit for the business you’re building and the audience you’re seeking. If you don’t use a strategic approach when reaching out to journalists, you’ll get few responses, fewer meetings, and articles that either misrepresent you, shortchange you, or blow up in your face. The goal isn’t just to secure positive coverage, because no one will believe it; startups are tough. There are...

The Viral Artwork Emerging From Hong Kong’s Protests

“Be Water” by OnTungC, commemorating the July 21 Yuen Long attack In Hong Kong, the ongoing protest movement immortalizes its political action in real time through art. On boarded-up buildings and in public spaces, illustrations and designs depict heavily armed police officers facing off against black-clad protestors with yellow hardhats, umbrellas, and gas masks. Artists disseminate this work anonymously from all over the world on the encrypted messaging app Telegram — the same method organizers use to plot demonstrations, which are decentralized and leaderless. Art and politics are uniquely linked in the city, reinforcing the youth-driven struggle against human rights abuses. There's this amazing drawing titled 'Twilight' that depicts at least 45 instances of a...

The Many Strange Lives of Mister Rogers Online

From Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (courtesy Cinetic Media) Over the past two years, there’s been an enormous drive to anoint Fred Rogers as something close to a prophet or saint in American pop culture. He’s somebody everyone is supposed to agree on: that gentle face we all grew up watching on public television, the man who instilled us with good morals and told us to love our neighbors. The 2018 documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? received almost universal acclaim for its commemoration and adoration of Mister Rogers, taking up his pedagogical philosophy of respect and acceptance for all as a paradigm for navigating a post-Trump world. In the face of relentless bigotry, Fred Rogers has been chosen as our culture’s moral compass — kind, no doubt, but also agreeable and non-confro...

Instagram to now flag potentially offensive captions, in addition to comments

Earlier this year, Instagram launched a feature that would flag potentially offensive comments before they’re posted. Now, the social media platform is expanding this preemptive flagging system to Instagram’s captions, as well. The new feature will warn users after they’ve written a caption for a feed post that Instagram’s A.I. detects as being similar to those that have already been reported for bullying. It will not, however, block users from publishing their hateful remarks. Instead, Instagram says these little nudges simply give users time to reconsider their words — something it found was helping to cut down on the bullying taking place in the comments section after the launch of the earlier feature. Once live, when users write a caption that appears to b...

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