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Issue 124 - February 2012 (1st Edition) - Page 13

WhatsApp 'Logo Will Turn Red' Hoax

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Outline
Circulating message claims that smartphone instant messaging application WhatsApp is about to start charging users for service but that this charge can be avoided by sending the same message to ten people.



Brief Analysis
The message is a hoax and should not be reposted. WhatsApp has not announced any plans to start charging users to send messages. The message is just one more incarnation in a long line of absurd hoaxes that have falsely claimed that a particular company or service would start charging users if they did not send on a message.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 15th January 2012
First published: 15th January 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Hallo everybody. 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

WhatsApp Red Logo Hoax




Detailed Analysis
According to a warning message that is currently circulating via social media and instant messaging, smartphone cross platform messaging application WhatsApp is set to start charging its users for sending messages. The message claims that users can avoid this impending charge by sending the warning to ten other people to prove that they are a "frequent users". Supposedly, the WhatsApp logo will turn red after the ten people have received the message thereby indicating that the service will remain free for that user.

However, the message is just a silly hoax. WhatsApp has not announced any plans to start charging its users for sending messages. And, even if it did, the company would certainly not announce its plans to start charging via a vague and poorly worded instant message or Facebook post. Nor would WhatsApp impose the absurd requirement that people had to prove they are frequent users by sending on a message to ten people.

The WhatsApp webpage notes:
Because 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.
And WhatsApp has now issued a statement via its website blog confirming that the message is a hoax.

In fact, the message is just one more lame incarnation in a long running series of hoaxes that have falsely claimed that users must send on a message to avoid a service charge. As the following examples reveal, the same false claims have been targeted at users of other services.

Facebook version:
It's official.. signal at 12;20 it even passed on tv. Facebook will start charging this summer.If you copy this on your wall your icon will turn blue and facebook will be free for you. Please pass this message if not your count will be deleted. p.s, this is serious the icon turns blue, So please put this on your wall.
MSN version:
Sorry to break the news, but looks like all of those warnings were real!!!!! :o !!! The use of MSN and e-mail will cost money from Summer 2009 onwards. If you Send this message to 18 different people from your list, your little MSN Icon will turn blue and that will make it free for you. If you don't believe Me, go on to (www.msn.com) and see it yourself. Don't forward this message, But copy and paste it so that people will actually read it!!!!!!
Any message that claims that users must send on a warning to a specified number of others to avoid service charges or the closure of their account is sure to be a hoax and should not be reposted

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References
WhatsApp Messanger
Hoax: Facebook to Start Charging This Summer - Facebook Icon Will Turn Blue
MSN 18 Contacts Hoax



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Issue 124 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. The Tale of the Racist Airline Passenger
  2. Mechanically Separated Chicken Warning
  3. Seriously McDonald's - African Americans Pay More Hoax
  4. Hoax - Queensland Will Hold a Referendum in July For a New Constitution
  5. Another Facebook Nonsense Post - Share to Help Baby With Brain Disorder
  6. Hoax: Facebook to Start Charging This Summer - Facebook Icon Will Turn Blue
  7. Bogus Seattle Traffic Ticket Email Points To Malware
  8. Hoax Message Warns Users Not To Contact DreamWeaverGrey
  9. Hoax - Facebook Will Donate $1 Per Share to Help Sick Baby
  10. Western Union Database Update Phishing Scam
  11. Facebook 'See Who Viewed Your Profile' Scams - Rogue 'Stalker' Apps
  12. Advance Fee Scam - 'You Are on the FBI Wanted Persons List'
  13. WhatsApp 'Logo Will Turn Red' Hoax
  14. Facebook Survey Scam - Get a Costco Gift Card for Free
  15. Boy Shot By Step Dad Charity Hoax