This story was first published on September 12, 2014
According to a message that is circulating via WhatsApp, your account will be deleted if you do not share the same message with at least 10 contacts.
The message claims that, because Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg bought WhatsApp, you must send the SMS to 10 or more people to activate WhatsApp’s new Facebook services.
Supposedly, once you have shared as instructed, the WhatsApp logo will change to the Facebook ‘F’ within 24 hours.
Message is a Hoax
However, the message is just a silly hoax. You certainly do not need to send a message to your contacts to keep your account active. In fact, the message is just one in a long series of hoaxes that falsely claim that you must share a particular message or risk losing your account.
There have been several alternative WhatsApp versions as well as versions targeting other high-profile services such as Facebook and Hotmail. Similar hoaxes have claimed that you will start being charged fees to use a particular service if you do not pass on a message to a specified number of people.
As in this case, many of the hoaxes make the absurd claim that the service’s icon will change in some way once you have shared as instructed.
WhatsApp Was Bought by Facebook But You Do Not Need to Activate It
For the record, WhatsApp was indeed acquired by Facebook for $US19 billion in February 2014. However, you do not need to do anything different because of this change. You certainly do not need to send on a silly message to activate WhatsApp with Facebook. A post on the WhatsApp blog about the Facebook partnership notes:
Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.
WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently. You can continue to enjoy the service for a nominal fee. You can continue to use WhatsApp no matter where in the world you are, or what smartphone you’re using.
New Version Adds On Second WhatsApp Hoax
A later version of the hoax message adds on a second WhatsApp related hoax that also circulates separately. This second hoax claims that there has been an “over usage of user names” on WhatsApp and your account will be deleted if you do not forward the same message to your contacts. Of course, this claim is utter nonsense.
Do Not Share These Messages
Sending on nonsensical hoaxes like this one does nothing other than spread misinformation and clutter our networks with even more useless nonsense. If you receive this message, do not share it with others. And take the time to let the sender know that the message is a hoax.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!