WhatsApp CEO message hoax returns following status glitch

A hoax message is rattling around on WhatsApp, urging app users to forward a fake message to all their contacts.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

A hoax message has been rattling around popular instant messaging app WhatsApp, urging people who use the app to forward a message to all their contacts or face having their accounts deleted, Indian tech site Firstpost reports.

The viral message appears to be from the CEO of WhatsApp, one 'Jim Balsamic', and reads, "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," the shady message continues, "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," the fake communcation orders, warning, "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."

The message followed a glitch that sprung up earlier this week, breaking contact statuses. WhatsApp acknowledged that issue on Twitter, and said the spam appears to be an opportunistic play on people's worries following that bug. I've reached out to WhatsApp for confirmation of the hoax, and I'll let you know if I hear anything back.

This message has surfaced before, with WhatsApp confirming on its blog that a very similar message was also spam way back in January, while the passage is also cited on debunking site Hoax-Slayer. Based on the text, the spam may have started on BlackBerry messaging service BBM -- hence Jim Balsamic, a vinegar-flavoured corruption of Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of RIM.

Have you spied any other spam on WhatsApp? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook wall.