Forty per cent of Italian divorce applications involving adultery now cite evidence gathered from instant messaging service WhatsApp.
This popular mobile app allows users to send messages to each other over the internet rather than phone networks.
The president of the Italian Association of Matrimonial Lawyers Gian Ettore Gassani claims that the service has fuelled a rise in infidelity across the country.
“Social media has boosted betrayal in Italy by making it easier, first through texting, then Facebook, and now WhatsApp,” he told The Times. He added that WhatsApp is “used widely and has encouraged the return of the Latin lover”.
Mr Gassani said that the family unit in Italy was “the cornerstone of society, but it has been under attack for years and WhatsApp is a final straw”.
Despite his unfavourable view of the instant messaging app, he offered some advice to would-be adulterers who use it: “Be prudent”. He said even though “it makes betrayal easier … [it] also makes it easier to be caught”.
Gassani suggested that if people wanted to use WhatsApp to maintain extra-marital relationships, they should probably put their phone on silent. “Spouses often become suspicious when they hear the beep of an incoming message,” he said.
Searching a spouse’s phone for signs of infidelity is increasingly common, so much so that there are now several apps designed to expose cheating, and others designed to cover it up.
Around 600 million people use WhatsApp around the world. It was purchased by Facebook for $19 billion earlier this year and has recently introduced a new feature which tells the sender of a message when it has been read.
Photo by Jan Persiel via Flickr