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.