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Issue 129 - April 2012 (2nd Edition) - Page 2

WhatsApp 'Servers Really Full' Hoax

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Outline
Message claims that smartphone instant messaging application WhatsApp needs its users to re-send the same message to everyone on their contact lists to prove that they are active users because the company's "servers have recently been really full". The message warns that the accounts of users who do not send on the information will become inactive.



Brief Analysis
The message is just a silly hoax. WhatsApp certainly does not require its users to send on a message in order to keep their accounts active. Nor are its servers overfull. The message is nothing more than a revamped version of a long running hoax that has targeted a number of other companies.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.





Last updated: 14th April 2012
First published: 14th April 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
WhatsApp© All rights reserved. Broadcast this message to every single contact on your WhatsApp Messenger© to reset your account, sorry for any inconvenience.

This message is to inform all of our users, that our servers have recently been really full, so we are asking for your help to fix this problem. We need our active users to re-send this message to everyone on your contact list in order to confirm our active users that use WhatsApp Messenger, if you do not send this message to all your WhatsApp Messenger contacts then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts Symbol will automatic update in your phone,when you broadcast this message. Your WhatsApp will be updated within 24 hours it will have a new lay out and a new color for chat.

Dear WhatsApp users, We are going to do a update for WhatsApp from 11pm till 5am this to day. You if you don’t send this to all your contacts your update will be cancelled and you would not be alowed to chat



Detailed Analysis
According to this rapidly circulating message, smartphone instant messaging application WhatsApp needs its users to send on the same message as a means of proving that they are still active users. The message claims that WhatsApp needs its users to take this step because their servers have become too full. It warns that users who fail to send on the message will have their accounts made inactive and they will not receive an automatic update that offers enhancements to the application.

However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. WhatsApp certainly does not require its users to send on an absurd message in order to keep their accounts active. Nor are the company's servers overfull as claimed. In fact, the message is just one more variant of a long running hoax that has targeted users of several other service providers including Hotmail, AOL, Facebook and Gmail. As the following example reveals, the WhatsApp version of the hoax is very similar to an earlier hoax that targeted Blackberry Messenger users:
This message is to inform all our customers, our servers have been very busy recently, so we are asking your help to solve this problem. We need our active users forward this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using BlackBerry Messenger, if you do not send this message to all your contacts in BlackBerry Messenger, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts. The automatic update icon on your BlackBerry, will appear with the transmission of this message. Your default will be updated within 24 hours, will feature a new design and a new color for chat. Dear BlackBerry users, we do an update for MSN BB from 23:00 pm to 05:00 am this day. If you do not send this to all your contacts the update is cancelled and will not be able to chat with your contacts if you have the previous version this is the real upgrade code for your blackberry: BB859Z23380; to spread this message to all your contacts Tel automatically you will shut down and turn and you can have the new blackberry 6.8 Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone.
No sane or reasonable company is ever likely to require its customers to repost a particular message as a means of showing that they are active users. Any message that makes such a claim is virtually certain to be a hoax. Quite obviously, such companies already have mechanisms to indicate the rates of activity on their networks.

WhatsApp was targeted in a similar hoax in 2011. The earlier version made the false claim that WhatsApp would start charging users who did not pass on a message. WhatsApp has published a warning about these hoaxes on its website.

If you receive this silly hoax, do not pass it on to others. And take a minute to let the sender know that the claims in the message are untrue.

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References
BlackBerry Messenger Resend to Save Account Hoax
WhatsApp 'Logo Will Turn Red' Hoax
WhatsApp Blog - It is a hoax. Really, it is




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Issue 129 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. RockMelt Virus Warning Hoax
  2. WhatsApp 'Servers Really Full' Hoax
  3. Circulated Warning Claims That Superheated Water In Microwave Can Explode
  4. Apple $100 Discount Card Phishing Scam
  5. HSBC 'Password Entered Incorrectly' Phishing Scam
  6. Viral Video Depicts Fatal Smash Between SUV and Truck
  7. Unsubstantiated Warning - Johannesburg Freeways 'Complete Shutdown 25th April'
  8. Facebook Page Hacker Warning Message - "Visit The New Facebook" Links
  9. Google Promotion Award Advance Fee Scam
  10. US Airways 'Flight Confirmation' Malware Emails
  11. Disabled Student Left Out of School Choral Performance
  12. Hoax: Facebook to Start Charging This Summer - Facebook Icon Will Turn Blue