Another Whatsapp hoax targets users

By Mieke Vlok
06 January 2017

Users of the popular chat app WhatsApp must be alert to the latest hoax that states that the chat service will soon start charging a fee.

“Tomorrow at 6 pm they are ending WhatsApp and you have to pay to open it, this is by law,” reads the chain message being sent around. The message is ostensibly from Whatsapp’s chief executive officer, one Jim Balsamic.

This message is to inform all of our users, our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking you to help us solve this problem. We require our active users to forward this message to each of the people in their contact list to confirm our active users using WhatsApp.

“If you do not send this message to all your contacts WhatsApp will start to charge you,” the message reads.

Read more: Millions of users ‘locked out’ of WhatsApp after 2017 update

The real chief executive officer is Jan Koum, who helped to start WhatsApp in 2009. And WhatsApp has said they'll never charge users for the service.

This isn’t the first time this sort of hoax has plagued the web. A similar message was sent around in 2013 and WhatsApp confirmed on its website that there was no truth in it.

Read more: This clever WhatsApp trick will help you avoid some awkward situations

The message on the website read, “Please understand that this is a hoax and there is no truth to it. While we are flattered that we made it to Hoax Slayer, we would rather work on cool new features instead of debunking silly stories like these.”

The chat service points out that any suspicious message must be taken with a pinch of salt because this sort of hoax is common. WhatsApp says you should beware of messages with the following characteristics:

  • The person sending the message claims to be attached to WhatsApp.
  • The message contains instructions telling you to send the message on.
  • The message says you will suffer some sort of punishment if you don’t follow the instructions.
  • The message promises a reward or gift from Whatsapp or another party.

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