"Forty percent of divorce cases that cited adultery have used WhatsApp messages swapped by unfaithful spouses and their lovers as evidence," Gian Ettore Gassani, president of the Italian Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, was quoted as having said in the Times of London.

"Social media has boosted betrayal in Italy by making it easier, first through texting, then Facebook, and now WhatsApp, which is being used widely and has encouraged the return of the Latin lover," he added.

"Lovers can now exchange intimate photos of themselves and we have seen adulterers using the service to maintain three or four relationships. It is like dynamite," Gassani said.

In Italy, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service. A 2012 survey found that 88 percent of the instant messaging market was captured by it.

"The family here is the cornerstone of society, but it has been under attack for years and WhatsApp is the final straw," said Gassani.