IDF soldiers using selfies from Gaza on Tinder

Tinder has pretty loose community guidelines, arbitrarily enforced it seems. I have a friend whose picture was removed for "sensitive content". It featured them sitting on the toilet, fully clothed. Just a little visual joke but deemed a bit much by the powers that be. Fully uniformed, gun-toting soldiers standing atop rubble or posing in a notably empty street amidst the ongoing conflict, though, that's fine.

When I sent Tinder some of the same profiles and images included in this article, the spokesperson said that the images "do not violate the community guidelines." 

I'd argue that posting an image from an active war zone where thousands of women and children are being killed by the same military that is now posting to Tinder from their evacuated homes qualifies as "violent content." However, even if these images don't contain "gore" and "death," Mona Shtayaa, a non-resident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) focusing on surveillance and digital rights in the MENA region, told me she was alarmed these images don't violate Tinder's guidelines because they normalize violence.

"They are normalizing soldiers who've been involved in military operations against people in the Gaza Strip and who've been complicit in genocide in the Gaza Strip, according to the ICJ [Court of International Justice]," Shtayaa told me. Earlier this year, the ICJ ordered Israel to take steps to prevent any acts of genocide in Gaza and more broadly improve the humanitarian conditions there. "It's not just about sharing the pictures, it's more about the bragging of what they've done there."

Emanuel Maiberg, 404Media

Sorry to be glib about this, but… just stick to fishing pics, boys. A fishing photo probably won't get you featured on 404Media or The Onion. It's also not morally abhorrent, unless you're vegan or vegan adjacent, to post a photo with a big fish. While they might not expressly encourage the use of Tinder, the IDF does encourage soldiers to utilize social media platforms on the whole, most notably, Tiktok. So it's likely that these photos won't be discouraged by IDF HR.

"This is contributing to the whole normalizing of anti-Palestinian racism, and downgrading of Palestinians as if they are not human beings," she said. "Allowing such pictures could contribute to militarizing our digital spaces, which create a feeling of constant fear on the platforms."

Emanuel Maiberg, 404Media

Previously: 104 killed after Israel forces open fire on crowd waiting for food aid; Gaza death toll reaches 30,000