Viral message claiming WhatsApp will be chargeable is a Hoax

False Technology

Social media is filled with misinformation related to the messaging app WhatsApp after they announced their new privacy policy. Fact Crescendo has debunked such misinformation in the past as well. Amidst this, a WhatsApp message reportedly sent by the “director of WhatsApp”, Varun Pulyani, has been circulating on social media. The message requests users to forward the message to at least 20 contacts. If they fail to do so, they will have to start paying for WhatsApp services. 

Fact Crescendo received this message for verification on our WhatsApp Fact Line number 9049053770. The message mentions the following

Hi Guys…FINAL NOTICE “Dont ignore please read it carefully” Hello, I. Am VARUN PULYANI 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 20 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.

This is the final notice! Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, the use of WhatsApp cost money from summer 2017. If you send this string to 20 different on your list, your icon will be blue and will be free for you. If you do not believe me see tomorrow at 6 pm ending WhatsApp and have to pay to open it, this is by law This message is to inform all of our users, our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking you to help us solve this problem. We require our active users to forward this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using WhatsApp, if you do not send this message to all your contacts WhatsApp will then start to charge you. Your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts. 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 should turn blue

to connect your whatsaap with facebook log in here

Forward this message to all WhatsApp contact.”

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Fact Check-

We started our investigation by running a keyword search on Google and found that this message has been circulating on different social media platforms since 2014.

Next, we looked into the about us section on WhatsApp website, it mentioned that WhatsApp was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton who had previously spent 20 years combined at Yahoo. WhatsApp joined Facebook in 2014, but continues to operate as a separate app with a laser focus on building a messaging service that works fast and reliably anywhere in the world.

We could not find any connection between Varun Pulyani and WhatsApp on the website or any news report.

Upon searching further on WhatsApp website we found that WhatsApp earlier had a subscription model which was cancelled later on in 18th January 2018. The website mentioned “So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”

Next we found clarification posts on WhatsApp’s blog stating that the viral message is a hoax.

The company said, “We have been getting a lot of emails and questions from you about this chain letter message circulating in our network: “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 should turn Red to indicate a frequent user.”

Conclusion- Fact Crescendo found that the viral message on social media is False. WhatsApp is not going to charge money for their subscription. WhatsApp has clarified themselves that they will not be charging money.

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Title:Viral message claiming WhatsApp will be chargeable is a Hoax

Fact Check By: Aavya Ray 

Result: False