Can you tell the difference between a bottle of Balsamic vinegar and the CEO of a globally popular messaging app?
If not, you're just the kind of person who could fall for a hoax like this, which continues to do the rounds:
From THURSDAY WE ARE ADVISED BY HOTMAIL, IT WAS SHOWN ON TV FOR DOUBT!
Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, the use of WhatsApp cost money from summer 2013. If you send this string to 18 different users on your list, your icon will be blue and will be free for you. If you do not believe me see tomorrow at 6 pm they are ending WhatsApp and you have to pay to open it, this is by law.
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.
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”
WhatsApp is going to cost us money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 10 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 should turn blue
I've warned about this hoax before, but judging by the number of people who are asking me if it's true or not, it's still doing the rounds.
For the record, as explained in its FAQ, WhatsApp is free to download and try out for twelve months. After that first year you can extend your subscription for 99 cents per year.
So, how frequently you use WhatsApp is irrelevant, and there is no point in forwarding chain letters like the one above to your pals.
I love that the chain letter claims that the CEO of WhatsApp is a guy called Jim Balsamic. The real chief executive and founder of WhatsApp is a chap called Jan Koum, who made a tidy sum when the company was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for an eye-watering $19 billion.
I guess that's an easy mistake to make.
According to some reports, WhatsApp turned down an approach to buy it by Henry Creamygoatcheesepolenta.
Clearly, the entire message is nonsense and you shouldn't forward it to your WhatsApp chums.
Just delete it, and tell whoever sent it to you to get a clue.