WhatsApp to start charging for every message you send? It’s a hoax

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

WhatsApp blue Users of WhatsApp, the immensely popular instant messaging app for smartphones, are being duped into spreading a hoax message to their friends and contacts – claiming that the service will begin to charge for every message sent.

The messages say that WhatsApp will charge for each message from 31st December/1st January – and that to avoid charges, users have to forward the message to 10 of their contacts.

According to the hoax, if you follow the instructions the logo on your WhatsApp app will turn blue.

Here’s an example of one duped user, who appears to have entirely misunderstood the idea behind the hoax and shared it with her Facebook friends rather than her WhatsApp contacts:

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WhatsApp hoax

31st Dec and 1st Jan whatsapp will become chargeable.
If you have at least 10 contacts.
Send them this messages.
In this way we will see that you are an avid user and your logo will become blue in color and remain free.
Send this messages thru your whatsapp column.

According to Hoax Slayer, other versions of the hoax include the following:

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 activate billing.

The official WhatsApp blog has debunked the hoax, which appears to have been spreading since at least January 2012!

Once again, do your homework before forwarding messages like the hoax above to your internet friends. You are not only wasting time and bandwidth, you are also helping to perpetuate hoaxes that are hard to stamp out.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

2 comments on “WhatsApp to start charging for every message you send? It’s a hoax”

  1. Ping

    Similar hoax is spread again as follows (in Chinese).
    Roughly it said: saw news really a fee, pls. forward to 18 people. It's problem WhatsApp cannot idenitify among new and existing accounts, from tmrw 6pm you have to pay $25 to open account. You have to send 10 msg to show you're freq user. Already people cannot use WhatsApp, hurry up.

    睇完新聞 , 原來真係要收$,快D send俾18個人啦!
    Whatsapp 出現左個問題,識別吾到新用戶和現有用戶,明天下午6點後開 Whatsapp要俾$25先開到,無俾$既 Whatsapp 會在48小時內del,將呢個信息sd俾10個人( 要有2個 tick 號先算 ) 證明你係頻繁使用 Whatsapp 既用戶…甘系統會幫你 upgrade,否則你既 account 將會被 del…
    Whatsapp公司話之前個人狀態出問題,係因為太多用戶,而且遲D會收錢,但如果你發送比18個人,你個 icon 會變藍色,代表你可以繼續免費使用,否則明晚6:00pm 需要先付款再開啟 Whatsapp,每月$25元。


  2. Wim

    And more recently it surfaced in Dutch:

    Als jullie NOS hebben gezien weten jullie dat Whatsapp vanaf nu ECHT geld gaat kosten, het gebeurd toch! STUUR DIT DOOR NAAR 10 MENSEN. Whatsapp krijgt dan een bericht en sturen jou na 2 dagen een smsje. DOE HET DUS ALS JE SLIM BENT|

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