WhatsApp Hoax: Fake Chain Messages Claim Service Shutting Down, Charging More

January 6, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

There’s a chain letter that’s being circulated via the WhatsApp network, saying there’s only “53 million accounts” available, but the company confirmed it’s a hoax. Another hoax message says that “WhatsApp is shutting down” on January 28.

“Hello, I. Am DAVID D. SURETECH founder of Whatsapp. this message is to inform all of our users that we have only 53million accounts available for new phones. Our servers have recently been very congested, so we asking for your help to solve this problem,” the hoax message reads.

It’s worth noting that David Suretech probably isn’t a real person, and the foundersof WhatsApp are Brian Acton and Jan Koum.

It continues: “We need our active users to forward this message to every single person in their contact list in order to confirm our active users that use WhatsApp. If you do not send this message to all your contacts to WhatsApp, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts.”

However, the company told the Cambridge-News: “Please understand that this is a hoax and there is no truth to it,” referring to both messages.

There’s another one saying that the service is shutting down Jan. 28 unless one pays $25 to reactivate their account.

On its blog, WhatsApp said it’s not charging $25.

“First, we are updating our business model for new iPhone users going forward. As you know, we used to charge iPhone users a $.99 one time payment, while Android and other platforms had free service for the first year and paid $0.99 a year after that,” it reads.

“From now on, we’ve simplified our business model so that all users on all platforms will enjoy their first year of WhatsApp service for free, and only pay $.99 per year after that. We feel that this model will allow us to become the communications service of the 21st century, and provide you the best way to stay in touch with your friends and family with no ads getting in the way.”