Anyone who is a part of a family or friends group on instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp understand how annoying it can be to wake up to a horde of unread "Good morning" messages, images, GIFs and alike. A report came out last year suggesting one in three smartphone users in India ran out of space on their phones due to such cheerful greetings.

There's a scare going around right now that could make you think twice before forwarding those cute "Good morning", "Good night" or other messages in the form of images or GIFs. Is it a good thing or a bad thing, it's up to how you perceive its outcome. But the viral forward claiming Chinese hackers have designed pictures or videos containing phishing codes landed on our fact check desk, so we got cracking.

Here's a look at the viral message widely circulated on WhatsApp, warning people against forwarding messages:

Is this forward message fake?
Is this forward message fake?Screenshot IBT

Investigating hoax…

This is not the first time we are looking at this exact message. The forward dates back to 2017 and again in 2018 and it was declared a hoax after verifying certain facts. For instance, the grammar in the forwarded message is the biggest giveaway. It's hard to understand what the message actually wants to convey and doesn't really mention important details like the platform where such malicious messages are shared, apps or websites affected by this and such.

Investigating hoax
Investigating hoaxScreenshot IBT

At the time when the threat was first discovered, no malicious code were found to be embedded in images that could link to identity theft. Check4Spam, a website that debunks internet rumours, had identified the message as spam back in 2017 and debunked it then.


Hoax verdict
Hoax verdictIBTimes India

Based on the available facts, it is safe to say that the viral message is fake. People are advised not to forward it on social media or IMs to ignite scare among others. But it wouldn't hurt to be considerate while sending too many forwards on a regular basis.