11 Sep 2011

New Social Network ‘FaceGlat’ Caters To Orthodox Jews, Separates Men And Women



A new social network called FaceGlat launched in Israel last month to give Orthodox Jews a Facebook-like experience that’s catered specifically to their religion. The network has many of the same basic features as Facebook — users can chat online, share pictures and add friends — but here’s the thing: men and women are strictly separated like they would be in a synagogue.
FaceGlat was developed by Yaakov Swisa, a 25-year-old Hasidic man, who derived the name from 2 words: Facebook, the social network it’s modeled after, and “glatt,” which means highly kosher. He developed the idea after a friend expressed interest about a social network where genders would be kept separate. Swisa explains:
One day, a couple of friends paid me a visit, and while we were chatting, the young woman said it was a pity that there was no website where she could share pictures with her female friends without other people being able to see them. We started thinking about a religious social network, where there would be no indecent pictures, and which would guarantee that men could not see photos posted by women, and vice versa.
He created the social network 6 months later with skills he taught himself on his family computer.
The social network doesn’t just separate men and women, but it also has strict rules against profanity and indecent pictures. FaceGlat uses a program that tracks and deletes inappropriate words, and users who post indecent photos (like photos of men in the section for women or photos of women in the section for men) are banned from the site. In the future Swisa hopes to buy a program that can automatically delete pictures that show too much skin. Perhaps Swisa should hire a team to develop the program?
Worldcrunch reports that while the website is new, it has already garnered 2,000 users and about 100 accounts are created each week. Swisa describes his user base to be mostly men from Israel, but 15 percent of users live in Russia.
At the time of this writing, the social network is available in English and Hebrew, but Swisa plans to translate it to Russian and French in the coming weeks. He also plans to advertise on orthodox forums and Facebook Pages of religious singers.

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