In the press

The new norm: Post-lockdown, hook-up app Tinder trials 'video dates'


IN THE PAPERS - Thursday, July 9: We look at reactions from the international press and Chinese papers as China's "Great Firewall" hits Hong Kong. Also, an anti-Semitism controversy erupts in American football after comments made by a Philadelphia Eagles player. Plus, Australia mourns the death of world champion snowboarder Alex Pullin. And finally, fancy a video date before hooking up in real life? Tinder is now trialling video chats!


We start with China's Great Firewall that's descended upon Hong Kong. That firewall came into effect on Tuesday and effectively allows police to censor online speech and force internet service providers to hand over user information. It's the nail in the coffin of the internet democracy that Hong Kong previously enjoyed. As the Guardian notes, the prospect of Beijing-style internet control is worrying for citizens, activists and businesses in Hong Kong. Major tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Twitter and others have so far refused to process information requests from the Chinese government until they've reviewed the law. The state-run Chinese paper The Global Times wonders what freedom of expression means to the US, saying that Facebook and Twitter suspended hundreds of pro-China accounts last year for posting evidence of "how radical rioters in Hong Kong had damaged the city". For the writer, Western tech companies have surrendered to US geopolitics.

Let's move to the US where an anti-Semitism controversy has broken out in the world of sports. It started with Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson who shared two posts on Instagram in which he posted an anti-Semitic message, attributed it to Hitler and expressed admiration for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whose discourse has been condemned as anti-Semitic. Those messages have since been deleted and the footballer has profusely apologised. But then, the New York Daily News reports, former NBA player and media personality Stephen Jackson, who was at the forefront of demanding police reform after George Floyd’s death, backed the footballer's comment, saying he was speaking the truth. The paper offers some reminders about what the Nazis did to Jews during the Holocaust and slams Jackson's glaring anti-Semitism and ignorance. Now a Jewish football sports writer has offered his perspective in another article. In it, he says the simple solution is to fire Jackson the footballer, especially if his comments are indicative of his true beliefs. But if it's just ignorance, the right move would be to educate him on the weight and responsibility of his actions, as a duty to him and those who look up to him.

Staying on the theme of sports, Australia has lost a world champion snowboarder, something that's making headlines there today. Alex Pullin was Australia's flag bearer at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and won his first snowboarding title at the age of 23. Pullin died due to a suspect shallow water blackout while spear fishing on the Gold Coast yesterday. The cruel sea claims a kind soul, the Daily Telegraph says of the two-time world champion.

Finally, Tinder, the holy grail of hook-up apps, is testing out a new video chat feature. Call it a sign of our times: video chat became very popular and handy during the global lockdown. Well as we realise that being at home is probably safer these days and social distancing is our mantra, Tinder is now letting users experiment with virtual video dating around the world. It's not the first dating app to do so, but it does signal a growing safety preference by online daters to schedule phone calls or video calls before going on an actual face-to-face date!

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