WhatsApp is a Facebook-owned application that is currently free to use.

Fact check No WhatsApp is not going to become a paid app
news Fake News Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:46

Not all messages that you receive on WhatsApp are true. Most often, the messaging app is used to circulate fake messages with the intent of spreading rumours. A recent WhatsApp forward that was widely circulated was one such fake message.

The forward read: “What's app will b off From 11.30pm to 6:00 am daily Declared by central govt. Message from Narendra Modi (PM) we have had an over usage of user names on WhatsApp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. DO NOT ignore my words or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 499.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the modi team. WhatsApp is going to cost you money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 50 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 will change color. send this to 8 people to activate the new whatsapp..

Saturday morning whatsapp will become chargeable. If you have at least 10 contacts send them this message. In this way, we will see that you are an avid user and your logo will become blue and will remain free. (As discussed in the paper today. Whatsapp will cost 0.01€ per message. Send this message to 10 people. When you do the light will turn blue otherwise whatsapp will activate billing. ITS TRUE ...... U get blue TICKS (sic)”

None of the above points stated in this forward message are true. Firstly, WhatsApp is a Facebook-owned application and therefore the Indian Government cannot control or regulate the app. Secondly, WhatsApp, currently, is a free application. Users need not pay to download the application, neither do they have to pay for every message they send through it. 

Here’s TNM’s fact check:

If the owners of WhatsApp decide to make this a paid application, an announcement would be made by the company first. Moreover, the news will be put on every news agency, including news websites, and TV news channels will also carry this verified news.

It is also advisable to check if the message you’ve received has ‘Forwarded’ label. This will let you know that the message has been forwarded by many and so could potentially be unverified fake news as well.

As a measure to control the spreading of such false messages through WhatsApp, the company has announced that it would initiate legal actions against those who bulk forward fake news from December 7, 2019. They have also regulated their forwarding feature to check the spreading of fake messages.

WhatsApp users can check the application’s blog page on their website to keep themselves updated on the latest announcements from the app and also to stay warned about false messages.

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