It is no longer news that WhatsApp is a breeding ground for spam messages and fake news that has gone viral, and while the Facebook-owned chat platform says it tries its best to scour these from its service, many still seep through.
Currently in Nigeria, several hoaxes are gaining traction but users are advised to keep calm and use critical thinking to separate the truth from the fiction.
5 Popular Hoaxes on WhatsApp currently circulating in Nigeria
1. WhatsApp is ending at 6 PM in Nigeria
According to this chain message, WhatsApp will charge you money to use the platform because its servers are “too full” and will only allow paid users to be on the platform after 6 PM.
“Tomorrow at 6 pm they are ending WhatsApp and you have to pay to open it, this is by law,” reads the viral message, collected by the Daily Trust.
“This message is to inform all of our users, our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking you to help us solve this problem. We require our active users to forward 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 will then start to charge you.”
This message is nothing but a hoax in the truest sense. WhatsApp also does not deactivate particular user accounts just because their servers are experiencing congestion.
2. WhatsApp Premium
Reports indicate that some WhatsApp users have been receiving invites to join “premium” versions of the app. Some users were apparently sent invitations to join WhatsApp as “Gold” status members.
These invitations, of course, turned out to be faked. Currently, there are only 2 official versions of WhatsApp – WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business. Anything else are from third party…
3. WhatsApp Virus
An email is going around reaching the email clients of users’ phones which says that they have received a missed call or a voice note on WhatsApp. The email contains a link that when downloaded drops a virus onto your device, something that can lead to user private information leaking.
It is important to remember that WhatsApp does not and will never send users notifications via email. Notifications will always come from the app itself. Have you ever been asked by WhatsApp to input your email address?
4. WhatsApp Chain Message
Users have been circulating a message apparently from the founder of Whatsapp, “David D. Suretech” which says “If you do not send this message to all your contacts to WhatsApp, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts.”
The chain message then begins telling users that they will be charged if they do not forward the message to at least 9 contacts. “Tomorrow, we will begin to take messages for WhatsApp for 0.37 cents. Forward this message to more than 9 people in your contact list and the what’s app logo on your will turn blue meaning that you have Become a free user for life.”
This message is obviously fake and there is no truth to it.
5. Spying on Other Users with WhatsApp Spy App
Apparently, there is a version of WhatsApp that allows you to spy on the chats of others.
Reports indicate that people are making use of this version to “spy on their exes.” This story has taken on such a life of its own that there are several articles online now talking about how to spy on other people using certain apps and software.
However, most of the links to these apps are gateways to malware and actual spyware that threat actors will use to spy on you.
The truth is that there is no such thing as a “WhatsApp Spy App,” and you should always be careful about opening untrusted links on shady websites.