[Update 2014-11-06] WhatsApp Closing? WhatsApp Starting to Charge for Use? Hoax!

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Over the past few days more and more rumours about WhatsApp have come up. There are 2 main messages making the rounds, one of which is supposedly about WhatsApp closing on the 28th of Jan 2012 saying:

“Whatsapp is shutting down on 28th Jan 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”

The other is where it scares people into forwarding messages that tell people who WhatsApp will now be charging for their service if you don’t become a “Frequent User” by sending the message below to 10 users for your WhatsApp logo to change from green to red:

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.

UPDATE 2014-11-06 – Blue Check Marks, What are they?

No, WhatsApp is still not closing and those blue check marks don’t mean that your account is about to be suspended….

In a quietly released update, WhatsApp has released a long-awaited feature to their app, read messages indication. 2 blue check marks now appear with messages which have been read by the recipient meaning the message has been read.
Previously the only way to assume the person you’ve been texting has read your message was to look for 2 check marks and compare the time the message was sent with the recipient’s last online time. But, that is no more…

So what do those tick marks mean? 1 check mark means that the message has been successfully sent from your phone to the WhatsApp servers and is now hovering around in the interwebs, making its way to the intended recipient. 2 check marks mean that the message has been successfully delivered to the recipient’s phone and 2 blue check marks mean that the message has been read by the recipient.

WhatsApp Tick Mark Meaning

For more information on what the ticks mea, check out the WhatsApp FAQ “What are those check marks next to my messages?”

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UPDATE 2012-05-09

Another message making the rounds has come up. The same story, just this time your WhatsApp icon will turn “tangerine orange”. The message looks as follows:

“FINAL WARNING!

If your WhatsApp Logo has not turned red you are not registered as a frequent user and by 10am C.A.T WhatsApp will start charging you. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and you WhatsApp logo should now turn Tangerine Orange as a result of late registration but you will then become a frequent user”

Another hoax, simple as that!

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UPDATE 2012-11-29

Messages have again surfaced that WhatsApp will be closing… Yet another hoax!

After people noticed that their contacts status messages showed “error”, the messages that was spread went a little something like this…

“Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, the use of WhatsApp cost money from summer 2012. If you send this string to 18 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 your help to solve this problem. We require our active users forwarded 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, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all their contactsMessage 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 Red to indicate a frequent user.”

Again it’s just a re-work of the previous messages that were sent. Further proof that this was just an issue on the WhatsApp server came from the tweet Whatsapp sent yesterday:

WhatsApp Tweet

So WhatsApp is NOT CLOSING! Contacts status messages should also be working and there might even be an app update out soon in my opinion.

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So what’s up with these rumours? Are they true? What’s going on??

Clearly these messages have made their rounds worldwide to such an extent that it has gotten the attention of the people at WhatsApp too! In a short message on their blog, “It is a hoax. Really, it is.“, they themselves say that these messages are a hoax. These messages also bring to mind messages that’s made the round on other IM services, like MXit and even Facebook, to mention just two I know of!

The service provided by WhatsApp will not be closing or changing!

These chain letters or whatever you would like to call them were cleverly conjured up to scare people. Some more reasons why these rumours are not true were mentioned on Hoax-Slayer which make sense!

In short, these points mentioned in the article are:

  • WhatsApp hasn’t, themselves, said that they will be charging users or closing down.
  • WhatsApp wouldn’t announce its plans to start charging for the service “via a vague and poorly worded instant message or Facebook post.”
  • WhatsApp would not make people prove they are frequent users by sending on a message to ten people.
  • Another reason why people won’t be charged for usage is due to this sentence which is on the WhatsApp website: “WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends.

It is safe to say that Whatsapp is not closing down and will not be charging for its use!

Not sure what WhatsApp is?

WhatsApp is an awesome cross-platform mobile messaging app. It allows you to send and receive messages without having to pay for SMS’s and as mentioned above, “WhatsApp uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends,” over and above the data usage which is extremely little! WhatsApp is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Nokia, meaning that these phones can all message each other without a problem! WhatsApp doesn’t just send text messages, but also allows the user to send and receive unlimited images, video, audio media messages, contacts and your location to make it easy to find your friends, if needed.

You can download WhatsApp from your App Store, or you can click this download link to download Whatsapp!

Lets put these rumours in the trash where they belong! If you get a message saying that WhatsApp is closing or you will start being charged for the service, tell the people it’s a hoax and direct them to the “It is a hoax. Really, it is.” article on WhatsApp’s website or even this article, so the people can see it’s a hoax if they need some convincing! These messages should NOT be forwarded!

Always remember, give a jackass an education and you’ll have a smartass!

Signing out.

G™

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