Visualizing the ‘real’ story – #Mecca_live and #WestbankLive on Snapchat

Snapchat decided this week to dedicate the live stream to Mecca upon request by many users. During the 27th night of Ramadan (Laylat al-Qadar) #Mecca_Live resulted in more than one million mentions on Twitter and also many on Facebook with a lot of positive comments from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Some said it was changing people’s minds and “many hearts in a couple minutes.”

The snapchat story shows pictures from the outskirts of Mecca, the Kaaba, Mecca around iftar time and the royal tower clock. Here you can see parts:

Two days prior to #MeccaLive snapchat showed stories from West Bank which also created quite a storm on Twitter and was presented by many people as a social media victory after Snapchat had already showed Tel Aviv but without mentioning the Palestinians:

On Al Jazeera a few comments:

Snapchat features West Bank in social media ‘victory’ – Al Jazeera English

Others pointed out that settlements were illegal under international law and tweeted that Israeli soldiers were “mysteriously absent” from the story.

“I hope people see the West Bank Life story and question why there are checkpoints, why there are walls and what’s happening to Palestinians,” a Twitter user said.

Others in the Middle East later suggested a Mecca Live Snapchat story “to show the world what Islam really is”.

Here you can see an impression of #WestbankLive:

The comments (although there was certainly critique as well as you can see here) showed an eagerness to show ‘the real Islam’ (against the background of an Islam that is often portrayed as a violent and intolerant religion) and the true story of Palestinian oppression. And of course it is really good marketing move by Snapchat as well, certainly after featuring Tel Aviv last week.

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