An old and false Whatsapp forward beginning with “Tomorrow at 6pm” has resurfaced on social media platforms in the past week.
While most credit the cause of delay to massive backlash from critics, “WhatsApp said the delay is due to “confusion” and “misinformation” surrounding the new policy, which it said will “not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.”
One version of this forward starts with “Tomorrow at 6pm they are ending WhatsApp and you have to pay to open it, this is by law.” It urges users to forward this message to avoid facing charges and losing their contacts.
“We require our active users to forward this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using WhatsApp, if you do not send this message to all your contacts WhatsApp will then start to charge you,” it says. It claims that according to a message from “Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp)”, the service has “an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger”
Most versions of this forward end with the following note:
“Kindly send this to 20 people to register urself in Free-Whatsapp mode. If you send this, you will recieve green ticks. The blue ticks was just an update. Wait for the GREEN tick. Facebook and whatsapp combined is the new version©. Send this ASAP.”
We received this message multiple times on our Whatsapp verification helpline in the last few days.
An example of the claim’s circulation since 2014 can be seen here.
Fact Check/ Verification
A simple Google search of the first sentence in the forward showed us that the message has been circulating since 2012.
The Whatsapp forward in context has been debunked several times before by different news and fact-checking organisations.
Whatsapp dismissed similar forwards as “a hoax” in their 2012 blogpost.
On its website, Whatsapp warns users about hoax messages from unauthorised third-parties.
“Unwanted messages from unauthorized third parties come in many forms, such as spam, hoax and phishing messages. All these types of messages are broadly defined as unsolicited messages from unauthorized third parties that try to deceive you and prompt you to act in a certain way.”
It also lists four signs of a deceptive message that users must be wary of:
- The sender claims to be affiliated with WhatsApp.
- The message content includes instructions to forward the message.
- The message claims you can avoid punishment, like account suspension, if you forward the message.
- The message content includes a reward or gift from WhatsApp or another person
It further advises “to block the sender, disregard the message and delete it.”
Apart from the above facts, the forward in context is a clear hoax because of incorrect facts and grammatical errors. For example, the current CEO of Whatsapp is Will Cathcart, and not Jim Balsamic. Also, official forwards will not include spellings such as “urself” or request for broadcast sharing of any message.
The message starting with “Tomorrow at 6pm they are ending WhatsApp” is a hoax and has been in circulation since 2012.
Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/times-fact-check/news/fact-check-misinformation-about-whatsapp-widely-circulated-on-whatsapp/articleshow/70073167.cms
Hoax Slayer: https://www.hoax-slayer.net/whatsapp-logo-will-turn-blue-hoax/
WhatsApp blog: https://blog.whatsapp.com/it-is-a-hoax-really-it-is
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