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:
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.