Tech Nation / One of Six Israelis ‘Unfriended’ Someone During Gaza War

Also: PlayBuzz, the online quiz startup founded by PM Olmert’s son, becomes Facebook hit, and Israeli tech entrepreneurs head to Berlin.

Reuters

One of six Israelis ‘unfriended’ someone during Gaza war

One out of six Israelis blocked or removed a Facebook friend during the summer’s polarizing Operation Protective Edge, according to research Nicholas John of The Hebrew University. About two-thirds of those who removed someone from their Facebook friends list or stopped following someone’s posts had never done so before, John found. He arrived at the estimate based on a survey of 1,000 Israelis Jews taken a week after the war ended in August. Facebook declined to cooperate, which is why he conducted a survey together with Shira Dvir Gvirsman of Tel Aviv University. “Leftists and rightists cut off and silenced others on Facebook at about the same rate during the war, but the odds someone would unfriend someone or hide someone else’s postings on his timeline were higher if the other was left-wing,” John said. (Inbal Orpaz)

Online quiz startup founded by Olmert’s son becomes Facebook hit

PlayBuzz, a website that allows users to make their own quizzes, lists and polls and was founded by Shaul Olmert, son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, became Facebook’s second-most-shared publisher in September, just 10 months after it was launched. A business-to-business version of the popular BuzzFeed, PlayBuzz pulled in close to 58 million unique visitors in last month, beating other viral media outlets, including Upworthy and SB Nation. PlayBuzz even out-buzzed BuzzFeed last month, generating 7.6 million Facebook shares compared with BuzzFeed’s 6.28 million, according to NewsWhip, which tracks online trends. Shaul Olmert, a serial entrepreneur who was also involved in founding digital media startups NetAlign, GameGround and Sundaysky, said he was not simply copying BuzzFeed. “We’re not really very similar businesses,” he told the tech website Mashable. “We have different platforms, different objectives.” (Inbal Orpaz)

Berlin attracting Israeli tech entrepreneurs

Berlin is attracting Israeli high-tech entrepreneurs, lured by easy access to the European market and the city’s low cost of living, the German radio broadcaster Deutsche Welle recently reported on its website. “We realized that Germany has a huge potential, and unlike in the United States, we’ll have almost no competitors,” Moshe Bar-Oz, founder of the Israeli e-commerce startup ShopEat, told DW. Five out of eight companies in the latest cycle of Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator, a Berlin-based startup accelerator, were Israelis — and all opted to keep up the Berlin connection by opening an office, or the company headquarters, in the city. Berlin, where Google will be launching a startup incubator in June, is trying hard to become a technology hub. “For the Israelis, launching in Germany is proof for future investors that their startup can make it even outside of the local market,” said Joerg Rheinboldt, who heads the accelerator. (TheMarker Staff)