Satmars claim WhatsApp destroys their community

By Daniel Easterman, February 7, 2014
Satmar Jews in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Satmar Jews in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Leaders of New York's Satmar Chasidic sect have expressed alarm over the impact of the social media messaging service WhatsApp on their community.

The strictly Orthodox group banned its members from using Facebook and other social media platforms in 2012.

Der Blatt, the sect's Yiddish-language newspaper, recently wrote that WhatsApp was the "number one cause of the destruction of Jewish homes and business".

The main concern among Satmar leaders appears to be the ease and speed with which video, photos and audio can be shared by community members on WhatsApp.

According to New York's Jewish Daily Forward, an Internet-filtering firm has been employed by community heads to block use of the application.

Nevertheless, it is thought that some rank-and-file members of the community remain committed to finding ways to bypass the bans.

One Satmar man told the Forward that he carries two mobile phones at all times: one filtered phone without internet access to show officials such as school administrators, and one unfiltered for normal use.

Last updated: 1:21pm, February 7 2014