FACT CHECK: WhatsApp will NOT record your calls; Devices will NOT be monitored by the government

False Hoax Technology

A message is circulating among WhatsApp users which claimed that all WhatsApp calls would be recorded, devices will be monitored, and the government will check your content after you are devices are connected to the Ministry systems. However, our investigation revealed that this is yet another scam message.

Social Media Posts:

A viral WhatsApp message claimed that the new communication rules for WhatsApp will be in effect from tomorrow (No fixed date), which will result in all WhatsApp calls being recorded and saved

Message went on to state that all social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter Instagram would be monitored, and the device would be connected to a ministry system hence requesting not to send messages detrimental to government leaders, religious beliefs etc. and doing so can lead to arrests without a warrant

Towards the end of the lengthy message, the viral notice talks about an unheard feature that shows three red ticks on a message, which would mean the government is likely to summon the user for that particular message.

The viral forward message is seen below.

Fact Check 

A keyword search revealed that this is not a new claim as the same message was being circulated in 2019 as well. The messages begins with Tʜᴇ ɴᴇᴡ ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ʀᴜʟᴇs ғᴏʀ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ ᴀɴᴅ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ Cᴀʟʟs (Vᴏɪᴄᴇ ᴀɴᴅ Vɪᴅᴇᴏ Cᴀʟʟs) ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ɪᴍᴘʟᴇᴍᴇɴᴛᴇᴅ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛᴏᴍᴏʀʀᴏᴡ It does not indicate a date to verify the authenticity.  

WhatsApp has not announced of any new communication rules as updates on its official channel and due to backlash among users the messaging service had earlier postponed the implementation of their new privacy policy from February to May 15th. However, later on WhatsApp clarified that people who haven’t accepted the privacy policy will get frequent reminders over the next few weeks and no account would be deleted.

First Post | The Hindu

But none of this is anyway linked to what the viral message is claiming.

WhatsApp is using a 256bit endtoend encryption and their website clearly states The privacy and security of your personal messages and calls do not change. They are protected by endtoend encryption, and WhatsApp and Facebook cannot read or listen to them. We will never weaken this security and we label each chat so you know our commitment.”

FAQ WhatsApp | Archived

Furthermore, the viral message says that your device will be connected to ministry systemHere again the message has failed to name the ministry or a regulatory authority.

It is always better to avoid forwarding messages making unsubstantiated claims or suspicious content received on WhatsApp as many a times they turn out to be hoax. Messages of this nature have created violence between communities in recent past in Sri Lanka. But the government or the police cannot access into your encrypted messages.

The notice also claims the government is monitoring sender’s messages and there are new ticks to indicate if you’re being watched. Currently, there are three types of ticks, a single tick means message is sent, two ticks mean delivered and two blue ticks mean read.

How to check read receipts – WhatsApp

But the viral message claims there are four more types of ticks, each having a different meaning. The other four ticks are unheard and does not indicate in any WhatsApp message. The government cannot read personal messages on WhatsApp. No third parties except for the sender and the receiver of the messages can read the messages which get forwarded on WhatsApp. The concept of three ticks introduced by the fake message also does not hold any truth as no such feature has been introduced by WhatsApp. So it’s a baseless claim.

WhatsApp blog too states We want to be clear that the recent terms and privacy policy update do not affect personal messages. The changes are related to optional business features on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data.”

This message has been shared in many parts of the world and below is a Tweet published by Factcrescendo India few months ago regarding this recurring fake claim.

Conclusion 

Our investigation reveals that even after the new privacy updates, WhatsApp calls would not be recorded, devices will be not monitored, and the government will not be able to check your content after being connected. 

Also the claims that WhatsApp has three ticks, red ticks or that the government is spying on your messages through the App are totally baseless. WhatsApp assures that all communications are end-to-end encrypted.

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Title:WhatsApp will NOT record your calls; Devices will NOT be monitored by the government

Fact Check By: Sahan Perera 

Result: False

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