With the ongoing privacy row involving WhatsApp, an old message has returned to haunt millions of users as they are on the fence about switching to an alternate IM app. The viral message making the rounds on various WhatsApp groups might just be the thing that helps users make the decision of switching. After all, the message claims that all WhatsApp calls will be recorded, devices will be monitored, and the government will check what you are chatting. Scary enough, right?
But before you make the jump, it is worth considering that the viral message could be fake. We explain why in this fact check article.
Several WhatsApp users have been sharing a message that claims that the new communication rules for WhatsApp will be in effect, which will then allow the Facebook-owned messaging app to record all your calls, save those recordings, and the police will be notified in case a message is flagged. The message also talks about an unheard feature that shows three red ticks on a message, which would mean the government is likely to summon you for that particular message.
Many users will be familiar with the forward, which is shown below:
Tʜᴇ ɴᴇᴡ ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ʀᴜʟᴇs ғᴏʀ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ ᴀɴᴅ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ Cᴀʟʟs (Vᴏɪᴄᴇ ᴀɴᴅ Vɪᴅᴇᴏ Cᴀʟʟs) ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ɪᴍᴘʟᴇᴍᴇɴᴛᴇᴅ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛᴏᴍᴏʀʀᴏᴡ: -
01. Aʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟs ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ʀᴇᴄᴏʀᴅᴇᴅ.
02. Aʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟ ʀᴇᴄᴏʀᴅɪɴɢs ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ sᴀᴠᴇᴅ.
03. WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ, FᴀᴄᴇBᴏᴏᴋ, Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ, Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀʟʟ sᴏᴄɪᴀʟ ᴍᴇᴅɪᴀ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴍᴏɴɪᴛᴏʀᴇᴅ.
04. Yᴏᴜʀ ᴅᴇᴠɪᴄᴇs ᴡɪʟʟ ᴄᴏɴɴᴇᴄᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ Mɪɴɪsᴛʀʏ sʏsᴛᴇᴍ.
05. Tᴀᴋᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ ɴᴏᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴇɴᴅ ᴀ ᴡʀᴏɴɢ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ.
06. Tᴇʟʟ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ, sɪʙʟɪɴɢs, ʀᴇʟᴀᴛɪᴠᴇs, ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs, ᴀᴄϙᴜᴀɪɴᴛᴀɴᴄᴇs ᴛʜᴀᴛ they sʜᴏᴜʟᴅ be ᴄᴀʀᴇful ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴀʀᴇʟʏ ʀᴜɴ sᴏᴄɪᴀʟ sɪᴛᴇs.
07. Dᴏ ɴᴏᴛ sᴇɴᴅ ᴀɴʏ ʙᴀᴅ ᴘᴏsᴛ ᴏʀ ᴠɪᴅᴇᴏ ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ Pʀɪᴍᴇ Mɪɴɪsᴛᴇʀ ʀᴇɢᴀʀᴅɪɴɢ ᴘᴏʟɪᴛɪᴄs ᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛ sɪᴛᴜᴀᴛɪᴏɴ.
08. Iᴛ ɪs ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ ᴀ ᴄʀɪᴍᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴡʀɪᴛᴇ ᴏʀ sᴇɴᴅ ᴀ ʙᴀᴅ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ᴏɴ ᴀɴʏ ᴘᴏʟɪᴛɪᴄᴀʟ ᴏʀ ʀᴇʟɪɢɪᴏᴜs ɪssᴜᴇ, ᴅᴏɪɴɢ sᴏ ᴄᴀɴ ʟᴇᴀᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴀʀʀᴇsᴛ ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ᴀ ᴡᴀʀʀᴀɴᴛ.
09. Tʜᴇ ᴘᴏʟɪᴄᴇ ᴡɪʟʟ ɪssᴜᴇ ᴀ ɴᴏᴛɪғɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, ᴛʜᴇɴ ʙᴇ ᴘʀᴏsᴇᴄᴜᴛᴇᴅ ʙʏ Cʏʙᴇʀ Cʀɪᴍᴇ, ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ɪs ᴠᴇʀʏ sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs.
10. Aʟʟ ʏᴏᴜ ɢʀᴏᴜᴘ ᴍᴇᴍʙᴇʀs, ᴍᴏᴅᴇʀᴀᴛᴏʀs ᴘʟᴇᴀsᴇ ᴄᴏɴsɪᴅᴇʀ ᴛʜɪs ɪssᴜᴇ.
11. Bᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇғᴜʟ ɴᴏᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴇɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡʀᴏɴɢ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ʟᴇᴛ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ sᴜʙᴊᴇᴄᴛ.
Bᴇ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴀᴡᴀʀᴇ ᴏғ ᴀʟʟ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ɢʀᴏᴜᴘ ...
Iᴍᴘᴏʀᴛᴀɴᴛ ɪɴғᴏʀᴍᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ's ɴᴇᴡ ʀᴜʟᴇs ᴛᴏ ɢʀᴏᴜᴘ ᴍᴇᴍʙᴇʀs ...
1. ✔ = ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ sᴇɴᴛ.
2. ✔✔ = ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴄʜᴇᴅ.
3. Tᴡᴏ ʙʟᴜᴇ ✔️✔️ = ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴅ.
Tʜʀᴇᴇ ʙʟᴜᴇ ✔️✔️✔️ = Tʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ᴛᴏᴏᴋ ɴᴏᴛᴇ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ.
5. Tᴡᴏ ʙʟᴜᴇ ✔️✔️ ᴀɴᴅ ᴏɴᴇ ʀᴇᴅ ✔️ = ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ᴄᴀɴ ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴ ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ʏᴏᴜ.
6. Oɴᴇ ʙʟᴜᴇ✔️ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛᴡᴏ ʀᴇᴅ✔️✔️ = ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ɪs ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋɪɴɢ ʏᴏᴜʀ ɪɴғᴏʀᴍᴀᴛɪᴏɴ.
7. Tʜʀᴇᴇ ʀᴇᴅ ✔✔✔ = Tʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ʜᴀs sᴛᴀʀᴛᴇᴅ ᴘʀᴏᴄᴇᴇᴅɪɴɢs ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ᴀɴᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ ɢᴇᴛ ᴀ ᴄᴏᴜʀᴛ sᴜᴍᴍᴏɴs sᴏᴏɴ.
Bᴇ ᴀ ʀᴇsᴘᴏɴsɪʙʟᴇ ᴄɪᴛɪᴢᴇɴ ᴀɴᴅ sʜᴀʀᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʏᴏᴜʀ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs...
This viral message isn't new as it has been making the rounds of social media and WhatsApp groups since 2019. If any of the contents of the message were to be true, the recent policy change in WhatsApp wouldn't have been such a big deal.
Since the message has resurfaced again, International Business Times ran a fact check to debunk the fake claims.
The first point in the viral message claims that all WhatsApp calls will be recorded and stored. WhatsApp has an entire blog to clarify that it can neither see user messages nor hear their calls, which have 256-bit end-to-end encryption.
There is also a claim about criticising the government on WhatsApp. Technically, there is no such rule, but it is advisable to never share derogatory and offensive content that might lead to violence. If found guilty of propagating violence, you'll be held accountable. But the government or the police cannot snoop into your encrypted messages, which brings us to another claim about government surveillance.
The message claims the government is monitoring all forms of communication and there are new ticks to indicate if you're being watched. Currently, there are three types of ticks, a single tick means message is sent, two ticks mean delivered and two blue ticks mean read. But the message claims there are four more type of ticks, each having a different meaning. It's false.
WhatsApp doesn't have three red ticks or more than two ticks and even if there was, there would be users reporting it or at least WhatsApp informing about the feature. Since none of that has happened, the claim is baseless, which means the government is not intercepting your messages and likely to summon you for the last forwarded message. PIB Fact Check had also debunked the claim about these ticks and government surveillance last year itself.