WhatsApp is becoming very popular among Orthodox Jewish families, according to The Forward, the Jewish newspaper.
In 2012, a group of rabbis held a rally in Citi Field to condemn “unfettered internet use” according to The New York Times. The leaders suggested members of the community use filters to protect themselves from inappropriate content.
This has caused Ultra Orthodox Jewish families to flock to WhatsApp since social networks like Facebook are frowned upon. WhatsApp is a messaging app that is used by 430 million people to send messages, videos and other content to users in their network. Forward mentions these families use WhatsApp since it’s a closed-off social network that won’t expose them to anything online.
One feature of the app that’s particularly popular is the group messaging feature. This tool is used by families to keep in touch with everyone at once — a useful feature given that Orthodox families tend to be much larger than average.
Now, rabbis are trying to ban this app from their members home. Forward explains why this makes them upset:
“It’s not something they can control,” said one member of the Hasidic community who lives in Williamsburg. “Anything they can’t be in control of makes them nervous.”
While the rabbis have not expressed the specific reason why they want to ban WhatsApp, this is going to be a difficult task since people using the app send and receive 50 billion messages daily.