This story was first published on April 14, 2012
Message claims that smartphone instant messaging application WhatsApp needs its users to re-send the same message to everyone on their contact lists to prove that they are active users because the company’s “servers have recently been really full” or are “very congested”. The message warns that the accounts of users who do not send on the information will become inactive.
The message is just a silly hoax. WhatsApp certainly does not require its users to send on a message in order to keep their accounts active. Nor are its servers overfull. The message is nothing more than a revamped version of a long running hoax that has targeted a number of other companies.
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 Whatsapp 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
send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your WhatsApp logo will change color.
send this to 8 people to activate the new whatsapp
Hello, we are Andy & John, director of MSN and now also whatsapp, this message is to inform all of our users that we have only 530 accounts available for new phones, and that our servers have recently been very congested, so we asking for your help to solve this problem. We need our active users to forward this message to every single person in your contact list in order to conform our active users that use WhatsApp, if you do not send this message to all your contacts to Whatsapp, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts. The automatic update symbol on your SmartPhone, appear with the transmission of this message.
Your smartphone will be updated within 24 hours, will feature a new design, a new color for the chat and the icon will change from green to azul. Whatsapp will pay rate unless you are a frequent user. If you have at least 10 contacts send this sms and logo will become red to indicate that you are a frequent user Tommorow begin to take messages for whatsapp to 0.37 cents. Forward this message to more than 9 people in your contact list and you will be free lifetime blue look and the ball will make up up As we shall see!
WhatsApp© All rights reserved. Broadcast this message to every single contact on your WhatsApp Messenger© to reset your account, sorry for any inconvenience.
This message is to inform all of our users, that our servers have recently been really full, so we are asking for your help to fix this problem. We need our active users to re-send this message to everyone on your contact list in order to confirm our active users that use WhatsApp Messenger, if you do not send this message to all your WhatsApp Messenger contacts then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts Symbol will automatic update in your phone,when you broadcast this message. Your WhatsApp will be updated within 24 hours it will have a new lay out and a new color for chat.
Dear WhatsApp users, We are going to do a update for WhatsApp from 11pm till 5am this to day. You if you don’t send this to all your contacts your update will be cancelled and you would not be alowed to chat
According to this rapidly circulating message, smartphone instant messaging application WhatsApp needs its users to send on the same message as a means of proving that they are still active users. The message claims that WhatsApp needs its users to take this step because their servers have become too full or congested. It warns that users who fail to send on the message will have their accounts made inactive and they will not receive an automatic update that offers enhancements to the application.
However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. WhatsApp certainly does not require its users to send on an absurd message in order to keep their accounts active. Nor are the company’s servers overfull as claimed. In fact, the message is just one more variant of a long running hoax that has targeted users of several other service providers including Hotmail, AOL, Facebook and Gmail. As the following example reveals, the WhatsApp version of the hoax is very similar to an earlier hoax that targeted Blackberry Messenger users:
This message is to inform all our customers, our servers have been very busy recently, so we are asking your help to solve this problem. We need our active users forward this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using BlackBerry Messenger, if you do not send this message to all your contacts in BlackBerry Messenger, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts. The automatic update icon on your BlackBerry, will appear with the transmission of this message. Your default will be updated within 24 hours, will feature a new design and a new color for chat. Dear BlackBerry users, we do an update for MSN BB from 23:00 pm to 05:00 am this day. If you do not send this to all your contacts the update is cancelled and will not be able to chat with your contacts if you have the previous version this is the real upgrade code for your blackberry: BB859Z23380; to spread this message to all your contacts Tel automatically you will shut down and turn and you can have the new blackberry 6.8 Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone.
A later variant of the hoax rather bizarrely claims to be from MSN directors “Andy & John”. This variant is clearly lifted from a much earlier hoax that claimed that MSN would close accounts to free up space if users did not forward a message. Another variant claims to be from WhatsApp CEO “Jim Balsamic“. And yet another makes the false claim that the message is from “founder of WhatsApp David S. Suretech”. Neither “Jim Balsamic” nor David S. Suretech are the founders of WhatsApp.
No sane or reasonable company is ever likely to require its customers to repost a particular message as a means of showing that they are active users. Any message that makes such a claim is virtually certain to be a hoax. Quite obviously, such companies already have mechanisms to indicate the rates of activity on their networks.
WhatsApp was targeted in a similar hoax in 2011. The earlier version made the false claim that WhatsApp would start charging users who did not pass on a message. WhatsApp has published a warning about these hoaxes on its website.
If you receive this silly hoax, do not pass it on to others. And take a minute to let the sender know that the claims in the message are untrue.