WhatsApp is a useful tool that many of us frum Jews use. It enables us to communicate with our family, friends, rabbonim, and community in a secure and convenient way. WhatsApp was always regarded as relatively clean and kosher, compared to other social media platforms that are full of harmful and distracting content.
But this may soon change with WhatsApp Channels, a new feature that will allow users to follow people and organizations they are interested in in a separate tab called Updates. WhatsApp Channels is a tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to their followers. Users can find and join channels through a directory they can search or invite links sent in chats, email, or online.
This is very much like Twitter or any other social media platform, which we know are not kosher at all. In fact, WhatsApp Channels is designed to compete with Twitter and attract more users to its platform. Social media is known to expose us to negative influences, waste our precious time, and lower our standards of tznius and kedusha. Even if WhatsApp claims that Channels will be private and protected by strong privacy measures, we know that there is no guarantee that the content will be beneficial or suitable for our neshamos.
I am very concerned about this new feature, since WhatsApp is already on almost everyone’s devices and people will probably ignore it without realizing it is a full-scale Twitter-like social media. I fear that many of us will be tempted to follow channels that are not aligned with our values and mission as frum Jews. I also worry that some of us may create channels that are not appropriate for our audience or purpose.
Therefore, I urge all of us to be cautious and vigilant about this new feature. We should not compromise on our standards of communication and information consumption.
One possible solution is to switch to Signal, another chat app that is similar to WhatsApp but does not have the Channels feature. Signal is also much more encrypted and secure than WhatsApp, so we can communicate with more confidence and privacy. Alternatively, we can disable the Updates tab on WhatsApp or limit ourselves to only follow channels that are relevant and kosher for us.
WhatsApp Channels is a risk to kosher communication. We should not let it undermine our commitment to Torah and Yiddishkeit. We should not let it interfere with our connection to Hashem.
Name withheld upon request
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
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