Facebook WhatsApp Charge? ‘Pay 5 Dollars’ to Keep Using is Fake; Could Spread Malware, Scams

February 20, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

A viral post on Facebook is saying that WhatsApp, which recently entered a partnership with Facebook, will start charging $5 to users to keep using it.

“Pay 5 dollar (sic) to keep using WhatsApp,” one of the scam posts reads.

However, that’s a long-running hoax since the service began a few years ago.

The fake message is being spread via Facebook and WhatsApp after Facebook and the company agreed to a $16 billion deal on Wednesday.

Such messages could entice users to click on the post, which could lead users to a phishing website, a website that prompts users to download malware, or answer bogus surveys that collect personal data. The messages should not be spread.

According to the company’s website, WhatsApp is free to download and try for the first year. After that, it costs $0.99 per each subsequent year.

In a blog post on Wednesday, WhatsApp elaborated on the Facebook deal.

“Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing,” it reads.

“WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently. You can continue to enjoy the service for a nominal fee. You can continue to use WhatsApp no matter where in the world you are, or what smartphone you’re using. And you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication. There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.”

It continues: “In just under five years, built a communication service that now supports over 450 million monthly active users worldwide and over 320 million daily active users. They have helped re-define and revolutionize communication for the 21st century, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

“Our team has always believed that neither cost and distance should ever prevent people from connecting with their friends and loved ones, and won’t rest until everyone, everywhere is empowered with that opportunity. We want to thank all of our users and everybody in our lives for making this next chapter possible, and for joining us as we continue on this very special journey.”