Connect with us

Fact Check

Viral voice note on WhatsApp billing false

3 mins read

Claim: A viral WhatsApp voice note, purportedly made by the director and CEO of WhatsApp, claims users will have to start paying for WhatsApp services.

The viral WhatsApp voice note claim is a hoax. The content is not new and has been circulated as a broadcast message several times in the past. 

Full Text

On Monday, October 11, 2021, a WhatsApp voice note, purportedly made by the director of WhatsApp, Varun Pulyani, and the CEO of WhatsApp, Jim Balsamic, started circulating. In the voice note, a robotic voice could be heard asking users to forward the audio to 20 contacts and that failure to do so would result in paying for WhatsApp services.

The audio is making the rounds a few days after Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger suffered outages that made their services inaccessible  for about six hours.

According to the audio which has been forwarded many times, WhatsApp is now being controlled by Mark Zuckerberg; hence, users need to forward the message to at least 20 contacts and their WhatsApp logo will change to a new icon with facebook’s “f” within 24 hours.

The voice said: “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. Your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts.”

It further said: “Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp ) 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. Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing.”

Verification

Dubawa started by conducting a keyword search and found that the information is not new and has been circulated several times as a WhatsApp message but not as a voice note.

Further checks also revealed that Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 from Jan Koum and Brian Acton who are the founders of WhatsApp, not by Varun Pulyani or Jim Balsamic.

Also, there has been no changes in the WhatsApp logo since it joined Facebook in 2014.

In January 2012, WhatsApp addressed the claim: “Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp) 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. Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 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 Whatsapp team.”

The company added : “It is a hoax. Really, it is. Please understand that this is a hoax and there is no truth to it.”

Conclusion

The viral WhatsApp voice note claim is a hoax. The content is not new and  has been circulated as a message before. Also, WhatsApp only disburses information through its official blog or social media handles.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

More in Fact Check