Israeli Startup Uses Video Chat To Promote Peace [PeaceTube]

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Thomas L. Friedman’s bestselling book “The World is Flat” describes globalization and the internet, which allows billions of users worldwide to connect.  While some choose to use this “flat world”  for commerce or finding friends online, others, such as Israeli project PeaceTube, set grander goals, like promoting world peace.

The PeaceTube Project, a nonprofit project founded in 2011 by two Israeli friends, Lior Penso and Ziv Tubin, along with American CTO Ron Gejman, connects people from different countries and cultures, especially those in conflict, thus creating a basis for tolerance and dialogue.

The PeaceTube  platform, which is still in development, will allow users to have anonymous interactions through video-chat.  The system is based on the Facebook API and prioritizes users according to conflict. For example, Israelis will be paired with Lebanese or Syrians, Russians with Georgians, Indians with a Pakistanis and so on.  The system will also draw on user’s personal information, in order to create common grounds for conversation.

As the mediator – we tell the parties about the similarity between them,” says founder Penso, “Imagine for example two users that are Barcelona FC fans, this in itself may induce a better atmosphere for conversation and may increase the chances of progress in dialogue between them.” In the same way the system also appropriates users by age range.

Through the platform – we try to enrich the educational experience, since ignorance is the biggest obstacle to the project’s intentions,” says Penso.  Accordingly, PeaceTube’s system adds relevant information about the other user’s country, such as its size, its capital city, segmentation of religions etc.

Using the Facebook API, PeaceTube can ensure that behind the user there is an actual person.

Similarly to the “like” button, users have the option to make an in-system gesture and if the other user “likes” them back, they can choose to expose their full name on Facebook, which can be the beginning of a long-term friendship.

It all started in 2011 during the revolution in Egypt,” Penso tells NoCamels, “there were dozens of different TV Channels and commentators, each of which describes the situation as they see fit.” Penso says that he was longing for an option to “directly contact someone who is actually there and ask them how they see things happening are and to hear their voice.

According to Penso – PeaceTube can help overcome beliefs that may be presented by leaders or live media: “It’s always easier to show the other side as cruel and generate propaganda,”  says Penso, “our platform allows people to bypass the interpretations and prejudices and just talking directly.”

The PeaceTube team is currently working on its Beta launch and hope it will be ready in the next couple of months.

(To continue reading this article on NoCamels – click here)


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