A text message is being widely shared on WhatsApp and social media platforms, which warns users about the ‘New Communication Rules for WhatsApp messages and calls’ according to which all the government will monitor it, record all WhatsApp calls, check your messages, and monitor your device. The message also warns about a new system of coloured tick marks on messages that would indicate that the government had “taken note of your message” and could take action against the sender. Newschecker found these claims to be untrue.
Among the users who shared the post on FB was one ‘Nataranjan Gopalan’.
Other Facebook links are available here, here and here.
Fact Check /Verification
We started our investigation by conducting a keyword search with the words “Tʜᴇ ɴᴇᴡ ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ʀᴜʟᴇs ғᴏʀ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ ᴀɴᴅ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ Cᴀʟʟs” on Facebook and found several posts with the same message shared in 2021, meaning the claim has been prevalent for a while.
Newschecker did not find any reports regarding a new government notification which will monitor social media and can lead to an arrest.
Upon further investigation, Newschecker found a tweet by PIB Fact Check uploaded by their official handle on 7th April, 2020 along with the caption ‘#Fake News Alert ! Messages circulating on Social Media reading ‘WhatsApp info regarding √ tick marks’ is #FAKE. #PIBFactCheck : No! The Government is doing no such thing. The message is #FAKE. Beware of rumours!’.
Newschecker also found a fact-check by Africa Check uploaded on their website on 28th September, 2022 titled ‘No, WhatsApp still fully encrypted. Ignore old hoax that the government will monitor your messages and calls’.
Africa Check contacted representatives of WhatsApp who stated “This is false, all messages on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, meaning only the sender or the receiver can see or hear your messages, nobody else. Not even WhatsApp.”
Newschecker’s investigation reveals that the viral message claiming that a new policy will monitor WhatsApp messages and calls and other social media platforms, on which messages against the government will lead to arrest is fake. There have been no directives issued by the government.
Tweet by PIB Fact Check on 7th April, 2020
Fact-check by Africa Check on 28th September, 2022
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