Tinder believes that love knows no borders-even in the West Bank

On the ground, the special geopolitical situation of Israel and Palestine, the patchwork of their checkpoints and territorial designations, also determine who uses Tinder’s services and how to use them. Although the interface does not explicitly mention the separation barrier, in addition to the gray dotted line indicating the disputed border, users in the area face a major obstacle: When Palestinians and Israeli Jews are matched, they usually have no legal way to meet without leaving the country completely. , Although they are geographically close when swiping the card. Israelis can cross the Green Line and travel to Israeli settlements via segregated roads, but cannot go to Palestinian cities or villages. At the same time, Palestinians in the West Bank cannot cross the Green Line without a permit, which may be very difficult to obtain. Palestinians with Jerusalem ID or Israeli citizenship can travel freely between Israel and Palestine, dating when they find a suitable partner. But those users I interviewed who do not have this freedom of movement said that the vast majority of people they see on the app are either on the other side of the line they cannot cross or are located in Israeli settlements, where they usually travel. unsafe. Therefore, in the occupied West Bank, the ability of different groups of people to use Tinder services to talk to and meet people in close proximity to geographical locations varies, mainly based on ethnicity.

Of course, Tinder itself is not responsible for the unjust military occupation. Nonetheless, by not acknowledging the way in which current political dynamics affect its scope of services, the company effectively normalized the profession, treating legal isolation (and the resulting difference in access) as a location-based dating app that can run Acceptable conditions.

As far as Samir is concerned, he has encountered these obstacles many times. In the early days of our friendship, he told me that if I did come to Ramallah, I would be the first person in the app to meet him personally when he swiped his card from Palestine. He had been paired with Jewish Israelis before, but before I crossed the green line, his Tinder relationship was completely virtual.

“A few times we met each other and they would say,’If you can get a permit and you can come in, come find me,’ but it never happened,” Samir recalled. He also mentioned matching an Israeli woman in the nearby settlement of Ariel on Tinder, but said he felt uncomfortable when he found out where she lived.

“She invited me to Ariel,” he told me, “but I said,’Damn it.'”

Last few years, We as users have collectively begun to question the idea of ​​technology companies not taking any responsibility when their platforms are used to them. Spread misinformation, Sway the election, with wage warHowever, what we have not paid enough attention to is that the core functions of the technology itself may have collateral political influence, and that non-partisan companies participate in marginalization by default. It seems that they have the responsibility to deliberately and carefully manage the geopolitical environment of the potential market, but they are ignored by a culture that regards entering the free market of technological tools as an indicator of progress even in technological conflicts.

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