WhatsApp has clarified that the viral messages is a hoax that goes viral repeatedly.
A message is circulating among WhatsApp users claim that all WhatsApp calls would be recorded, devices will be monitored, and the government will check your messages as the devices are connected to the Ministry systems. However, our investigation revealed that this is yet another fraud message.
Social Media Posts:
A viral WhatsApp message claimed that the new communication rules for WhatsApp will be in effect from tomorrow (No fixed date), which will result in all WhatsApp calls being recorded and saved.
Message went on to state that all social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter Instagram would be monitored, and the device would be connected to a ministry system hence requesting not to send messages detrimental to government leaders, religious beliefs etc. and doing so can lead to arrests without a warrant.
Towards the end of the lengthy message, the viral notice talks about an unheard feature that shows three red ticks on a message, which would mean the government is likely to summon the user for that particular message.
A keyword search revealed that this is not a new claim as the same message was being circulated since 2019. The messages begins with
“Tʜᴇ ɴᴇᴡ ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ʀᴜʟᴇs ғᴏʀ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ ᴀɴᴅ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ Cᴀʟʟs (Vᴏɪᴄᴇ ᴀɴᴅ Vɪᴅᴇᴏ Cᴀʟʟs) ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ɪᴍᴘʟᴇᴍᴇɴᴛᴇᴅ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛᴏᴍᴏʀʀᴏᴡ.”
It does not indicate a date to verify the authenticity.
Fact Crescendo reached out to WhatsApp. Their spokesperson said,
“WhatsApp is an industry leader in preventing abuse among end-to-end encrypted messaging services with privacy and security in our DNA. End-to-end encryption helps ensure only you and the person you are communicating with can read or listen to what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. Safety of our users is at the core of everything we do and we have devoted efforts to empower users with resources and tools that equip them to spot misinformation and prevent its spread further. While there is no single action that can help prevent the spread of misinformation and fake news online, we encourage users to stay vigilant when they receive messages with ‘forward’ labels and double-check information that sounds suspicious or inaccurate by sending it to WhatsApp tiplines. Our limits imposed on ‘forwards’ have reduced the spread of ‘highly forwarded messages’ on WhatsApp by over 70%, therefore, actively constraining virality on the platform. We also encourage users to block and report accounts they find suspicious or if they receive problematic messages from them. To that effect the attached ‘highly forwarded message’ is fabricated and users should be conscious before sharing it further.”
Is the government reading your messages?
The answer is ‘NO”
WhatsApp is using a 256–bit end–to–end encryption and their website clearly states, “The privacy and security of your personal messages and calls do not change. They are protected by end–to–end encryption, and WhatsApp and Facebook cannot read or listen to them. We will never weaken this security and we label each chat so you know our commitment.”
Furthermore, the viral message says, “that your device will be connected to ministry system” Here again the message has failed to name the ministry or a regulatory authority.
What are the type of tick marks on WhatsApp?
According to WhatsApp, they have only three types of tick marks: single grey tick, double grey tick and double blue tick. Other than that, there are no tick marks in WhatsApp. WhatsApp has no three tick marks and no red tick marks. A grey tick mark appears when you send a message. This means that a message has been sent from your mobile. When your message reaches the person in front (recipient), two gray tick marks appear. When these two ticks turn blue, it means that the person in front (recipient) has read that message.
After the message regarding the three red ticks went viral on social media, the fact-checking arm of the Indian government tweeted that the message was false in 2020. “The message circulating regarding the tick mark on WhatsApp is completely baseless. The government does not read the messages of the citizens in this way,” said the tweet.
Fact Crescendo found the viral message on social media to be False. WhatsApp has clarified that the viral messages is a hoax that goes viral repeatedly. The government is not reading our personal messages on WhatsApp neither there is a new feature of three ticks or red tick on WhatsApp.
Title:Is the government reading your WhatsApp messages? WhatsApp says it’s a HoaxFact Check By: Drabanti Ghosh