A WhatsApp forward is being circulated on various social media platforms which states that apparently ISIS is planning on stealing profile pictures from WhatsApp in order to misuse these for terrorist activities. Fact Crescendo received this message for verification on our WhatsApp Fact-Line number 9049053770.
According to the message, WhatsApp’s CEO appealed to all users to remove their profile picture within the next 20-25 days, and users are asked to forward the message to others, especially women. The message is said to be issued by A.K. Mittal, apparently an IPS. A mobile number (9849436632) is also mentioned and the sender claims to be the Commissioner of Delhi.
We started our investigation by calling AK Mittal, Commissioner of Delhi as given in the message. We found that according to Truecaller, the number is listed as belonging to an Arshad Ali and has been reported as spam. This number has been reported as spam 1746 times. We also found that AK Mittal IPS Delhi is written in bracket below Arshad Ali but the number is switched off.
Next, we searched about Delhi’s Commissioner on their official website and found that there is no-one named A.K. Mittal who has been Commissioner of Delhi since 1977. The website has the names of every Commissioner of Delhi since 1977, it also has the time period for which every Commissioner has worked for. Currently S.N Shrivastava is the Commissioner of Delhi.
With a further keyword search we found that this message is going viral on social media since 2016. Next, we went to WhatsApp’s official website to see their policy about privacy and security. According to WhatsApp, unsolicited messages from unauthorized third parties come in different forms such as spam, hoax and phishing messages. These messages are sent with the intention of deceiving the user and prompting them to act in a certain way.
WhatsApp lists the following characteristics of a hoax message:
(1) The sender claims to be affiliated with WhatsApp.
In this case, the message is attributed to WhatsApp CEO and the Commissioner of Delhi, to make it more credible.
(2) The message claims you can avoid punishment, like account suspension, if you forward the message.
In this case, the message says that the user’s display picture could be misused by terrorists, hackers and ISIS.
(3) The message content includes a reward or gift from WhatsApp or another person.
(4) The message content includes instructions to forward the message.
The viral message does ask the user to forward it to other people.
No such message has been issued by WhatsApp on their official website.
Conclusion- Fact Crescendo has found the above-mentioned message to be False. The viral message on social media is fake and is credited to fictional characters. No such message was issued by the Commissioner of Delhi.
Title:ISIS is not trying to hack your WhatsApp profile pictureFact Check By: Aavya Ray