Image: © depositphotos.com/prykhodov
According to this widely circulated WhatsApp post, you must forward a message to your WhatsApp contact list or your account will be deleted.
The message is in two sections that were supposedly penned by two WhatsApp executives, “John Sam” and “Jim Balsamic”.
John Sam Section
The first part of the message claims to be from a person called John Sam, who is identified as the “director of WhatsApp”. It explains that, because WhatsApp has been sold to Mark Zuckerberg, you must send the same message to at least 10 contacts to activate the new WhatsApp with Facebook.
Supposedly, after you have sent the message, a Facebook “F” icon will appear on your Whatsapp account. But, warns the message, if you don’t forward as instructed, your account will be deleted from WhatsApp’s servers.
Jim Balsamic Section
The second part of the message claims to be someone called Jim Balsamic who is supposedly the WhatsApp CEO. It claims that you must send the message to all of your contacts or your account will be considered invalid and will be deleted.
Supposedly, the company is making this request because inactive accounts need to be removed due to an “over usage of user names”.
The message claims that, after you have forwarded as instructed, your Whatsapp logo will change colour.
It also claims that WhatsApp will soon cost money unless you can prove that you are a frequent user by chatting to at least 10 people. And, claims the message, if your account is deleted and you wish to reactivate it, you will be charged a fee of $25.
Both Sections are Utter Nonsense
However, both parts of the message are nonsense. John Sam and Jim Balsamic are not WhatsApp executives and the claim that your account will be deleted if you don’t forward a message is false.
Facebook did buy WhatsApp for $US19 billion in February 2014. However, users were certainly not required 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.
And WhatsApp is not experiencing storage problems because of an over usage of user names. That claim is just plain silly.
Furthermore, if the company was intent on identifying and deleting inactive users it could do so via its own user activity data. It would not need users to forward on an absurd message to prove that they are active. Any message that makes such a claim is nonsense.
The claim that WhatsApp is about to start charging its users ongoing fees is also untrue.
One in a Long Series of WhatsApp Hoaxes
This message combines two earlier hoaxes that have circulated separately for years. And, there are several other hoaxes that also falsely claim that WhatsApp is deleting users or is about to start charging for its services.
If one of these silly hoaxes comes your way, please don’t spread it further by forwarding it. And let the person who sent it to you know that the message is a hoax.
An example of the hoax message:
Hello, I. Am john Sam director of whatsapp, this message is to inform all of our users that we have sold whatsapp to Mark Zuckerberg for 19 billion $. WhatsApp is now controlled by mark zuckerberg. If you have at least 10 contacts send this sms and logo of your whatsapp will change to a new icon with facebook’s “f” within 24 hours.Forward this message to more than 10 people to activate your new whatsapp with facebook services or else your account will be deleted from new servers.
Confirming this is the new icon WhatsApp
Send it to all your contacts to update the application
send this to 10 people
To activate the new whatsapp.
Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp) we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the team WhatsApp is going to cost us money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 10 people you are chatting with. To become a frequent user h
send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your WhatsApp logo change color.
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!