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Special Reports, Tech

Social Messaging Apps Disrupt Telecoms Industry in Haiti

“Every group, every category, (and) any class in Haiti uses Whatsapp as a means of communication,” said Jean-Junior Joseph, a Haitian media blogger. “Whatsapp is implicated in politics, business, love, romance, friendship, entertainment. You name it.”

Digicel Haiti Headquarters. Photo credit: Vania Andre

By Sam Bojarski

Yola Moiso of Rockland County, New York, still remembers calling cards. Before Whatsapp burst onto the scene in 2009, she recalled purchasing cards for $19.99 per month, to speak with family and friends in Haiti. 

“It became so expensive that I had to reach out to my local phone company to inquire about an international plan,” said Moiso, a Haitian American and director of operations for the nonprofit Haitian community organization Konbit Neg Lakay. 

But when Whatsapp burst onto the scene in 2009, Moiso said it enabled her to communicate with loved ones for free, as long as they have a smartphone. 

In Haiti, there are few aspects of life untouched by social messaging applications Whatsapp.

“Every group, every category, (and) any class in Haiti uses Whatsapp as a means of communication,” said Jean-Junior Joseph, a Haitian media blogger. “Whatsapp is implicated in politics, business, love, romance, friendship, entertainment. You name it.” 


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Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski has been covering Haiti and its diaspora for The Haitian Times since 2018. He is currently covering New York's Haitian community as a Report for America corps member.
Sam Bojarski
Oct. 16, 2019