No, your WhatsApp calls are ‘probably’ not being recorded

Leonard Sengere Avatar
WhatsApp voice note to text pause record

“Some people just want to watch the world burn,” said our favourite butler, Alfred. If only that was just a clever movie quote. Unfortunately, this is real life and some people get kicks out of watching people scurry and scatter. The WhatsApp doom and gloom purveyors are still at it.

There is a message circulating on WhatsApp purporting to be sharing ‘new communication rules for WhatsApp.’ You may have come across it and I hope you knew right away that it was hogwash. It is nonsense, completely made up by some joker somewhere.

The false message reads:

Tʜᴇ ɴᴇᴡ ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ʀᴜʟᴇs ғᴏʀ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ ᴀɴᴅ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ Cᴀʟʟs (Vᴏɪᴄᴇ ᴀɴᴅ Vɪᴅᴇᴏ Cᴀʟʟs) ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ɪᴍᴘʟᴇᴍᴇɴᴛᴇᴅ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛᴏᴍᴏʀʀᴏᴡ: –

  1. Aʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟs ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ʀᴇᴄᴏʀᴅᴇᴅ.
  2. Aʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟ ʀᴇᴄᴏʀᴅɪɴɢs ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ sᴀᴠᴇᴅ.
  3. WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ, FᴀᴄᴇBᴏᴏᴋ, Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ, Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀʟʟ sᴏᴄɪᴀʟ ᴍᴇᴅɪᴀ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴍᴏɴɪᴛᴏʀᴇᴅ.
  4. Yᴏᴜʀ ᴅᴇᴠɪᴄᴇs ᴡɪʟʟ ᴄᴏɴɴᴇᴄᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ Mɪɴɪsᴛʀʏ sʏsᴛᴇᴍ.
  5. Tᴀᴋᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ ɴᴏᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴇɴᴅ ᴀ ᴡʀᴏɴɢ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ.
  6. Tᴇʟʟ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ, sɪʙʟɪɴɢs, ʀᴇʟᴀᴛɪᴠᴇs, ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs, ᴀᴄϙᴜᴀɪɴᴛᴀɴᴄᴇs ᴛʜᴀᴛ they sʜᴏᴜʟᴅ be ᴄᴀʀᴇful ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴀʀᴇʟʏ ʀᴜɴ sᴏᴄɪᴀʟ sɪᴛᴇs.
  7. Dᴏ ɴᴏᴛ sᴇɴᴅ ᴀɴʏ ʙᴀᴅ ᴘᴏsᴛ ᴏʀ ᴠɪᴅᴇᴏ ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ʀᴇɢᴀʀᴅɪɴɢ ᴘᴏʟɪᴛɪᴄs ᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛ sɪᴛᴜᴀᴛɪᴏɴ.
  8. Iᴛ ɪs ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ ᴀ ᴄʀɪᴍᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴡʀɪᴛᴇ ᴏʀ sᴇɴᴅ ᴀ ʙᴀᴅ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ᴏɴ ᴀɴʏ ᴘᴏʟɪᴛɪᴄᴀʟ ᴏʀ ʀᴇʟɪɢɪᴏᴜs ɪssᴜᴇ, ᴅᴏɪɴɢ sᴏ ᴄᴀɴ ʟᴇᴀᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴀʀʀᴇsᴛ ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ᴀ ᴡᴀʀʀᴀɴᴛ.
  9. Tʜᴇ ᴘᴏʟɪᴄᴇ ᴡɪʟʟ ɪssᴜᴇ ᴀ ɴᴏᴛɪғɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, ᴛʜᴇɴ ʙᴇ ᴘʀᴏsᴇᴄᴜᴛᴇᴅ ʙʏ Cʏʙᴇʀ Cʀɪᴍᴇ, ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ɪs ᴠᴇʀʏ sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs.
  10. Aʟʟ ʏᴏᴜ ɢʀᴏᴜᴘ ᴍᴇᴍʙᴇʀs, ᴍᴏᴅᴇʀᴀᴛᴏʀs ᴘʟᴇᴀsᴇ ᴄᴏɴsɪᴅᴇʀ ᴛʜɪs ɪssᴜᴇ.
  11. Bᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇғᴜʟ ɴᴏᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴇɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡʀᴏɴɢ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ʟᴇᴛ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ sᴜʙᴊᴇᴄᴛ.

Bᴇ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴀᴡᴀʀᴇ ᴏғ ᴀʟʟ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ɢʀᴏᴜᴘ …

Iᴍᴘᴏʀᴛᴀɴᴛ ɪɴғᴏʀᴍᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ’s ɴᴇᴡ ʀᴜʟᴇs ᴛᴏ ɢʀᴏᴜᴘ ᴍᴇᴍʙᴇʀs …

  1. ✔ = ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ sᴇɴᴛ.
  2. ✔✔ = ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴄʜᴇᴅ.
  3. Tᴡᴏ ʙʟᴜᴇ ✔️✔️ = ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴅ.
    Tʜʀᴇᴇ ʙʟᴜᴇ ✔️✔️✔️ = Tʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ᴛᴏᴏᴋ ɴᴏᴛᴇ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ.
  4. Tᴡᴏ ʙʟᴜᴇ ✔️✔️ ᴀɴᴅ ᴏɴᴇ ʀᴇᴅ ✔️ = ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ᴄᴀɴ ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴ ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ʏᴏᴜ.
  5. Oɴᴇ ʙʟᴜᴇ✔️ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛᴡᴏ ʀᴇᴅ✔️✔️ = ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ɪs ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋɪɴɢ ʏᴏᴜʀ ɪɴғᴏʀᴍᴀᴛɪᴏɴ.
  6. Tʜʀᴇᴇ ʀᴇᴅ ✔✔✔ = Tʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ʜᴀs sᴛᴀʀᴛᴇᴅ ᴘʀᴏᴄᴇᴇᴅɪɴɢs ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ᴀɴᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ ɢᴇᴛ ᴀ ᴄᴏᴜʀᴛ sᴜᴍᴍᴏɴs sᴏᴏɴ.

Bᴇ ᴀ ʀᴇsᴘᴏɴsɪʙʟᴇ ᴄɪᴛɪᴢᴇɴ ᴀɴᴅ sʜᴀʀᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʏᴏᴜʀ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs …

Every single line of the message above is false

I gotta admit though, this is funny as heck. That’s some next level creative thinking there. Imagine getting a third blue tick that means the government taken note of your message. I can see how the person who wrote this may have thought it was just a laugh.

You could argue that there is no real victim here even if some people fall for the fakery. I mean, if one believes the above they will just become a better citizen who doesn’t send ‘wrong’ messages to anyone.

Not bad mouthing the government via a messaging app that allows the taking of screenshots is just pragmatism, ain’t it? So if the fake news above results in people doing their govt bad mouthing in person that could be a good thing.

That’s what annoys me. If that had been the message, ‘careful what you post on WhatsApp,’ that would have been a good message. The author used lies and fear to spread his message and that cannot be supported.

While it’s not true…

WhatsApp has end to end encryption, meaning it is extremely difficult for anyone, including the government, to spy on your chats. The key words are ‘extremely difficult.’ That’s not the same as ‘impossible.’

If you are high profile enough and the government believes they ought to know what you’re saying in your private chats, then all bets are off.

Just last year the Zimbabwean government told us:

We have actually come up with a cyber-team that is constantly on social media to monitor what people send and receive since we cannot wish social media away,

Monica Mutsvangwa, Information minister

A few years ago WhatsApp confirmed that the notorious Israeli spyware ‘Pegasus’ was used to snoop on over two dozen academics, lawyers, journalists and Dalit activists in India. These people were targeted and WhatsApp’s end to end encryption did not help them.

It wasn’t just WhatsApp, “Pegasus could compromise the entire cell data, including that from Skype, Telegram, Viber, SMS, photo, emails, contacts, location, files, browsing the history, besides microphone and camera recordings.”

All this to say it is not outside the realm of possibility that the Zimbabwean government could have access to other such powerful spyware. That means, although the message that is circulating on WhatsApp is false, it is prudent to be careful what you say.

WhatsApp may not be recording your calls but that doesn’t mean your calls are not being recorded. Don’t fret over this though. If you’re just a nobody, in the grand scheme of things, like me, the government does not care about your chats. If you’re an activist, you best be careful out there.

Also read:

Big Brother is watching: the govt’s social media prefects are back


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  1. Active-east

    Is pindula & techzim safe or Monica is recording us?!…🤨 If she is pasi nemandhu

    1. José

      Good Question because I have seen a lot of people bad mouthing the government on pindula site.

      1. Leonard Sengere

        I don’t think they mind the grumbling. If however we were to try to organise a protest or a march then that would be a problem. But it’s just stressed out people venting on Pindula. Should be safe but don’t take those words to the bank.

    2. Leonard Sengere

      I’d like to think we’re safe. We are not even in the same pond as those guys, we’re tiny fish here. Monica haatozive kuti tiriko.

  2. Towers

    Are you sure about this? After updating my phone’s OS and WhatsApp beta version… Whenever I’m on a call, a green microphone is displayed at the top of my phone and when I click on it, it says this call is being recorded. I wish I could attach the image for you to see this.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      That’s a new security feature on both Android and iOS, that light you see is there to tell you that your microphone or camera is in use. So whenever you see that green icon you know something is going on. It’s okay when you’re on a call but if you see that light when you’re not on a call or using your camera then you have a problem. You can interact with the green icon to see which app is using the microphone or camera.

    2. Isaac

      Exactly. It’s the same nemaLaptops when you’re using the Camera…

  3. The Empress

    Fable and Parables
    These WhatsApp messages are the new fables and parables of our time.
    Aseop and Jesus used them to try to get human beings and with their short attention spans to think about the consequences of their actions and to listen to the lesson they were trying to impart by wrapping them up in an interesting story.
    Nowadays the new age fables try to get us to change our behaviour by using fear as the delivery system of the intended lesson.
    To be honest this is nothing special. Our parents used to do this by saying if you do etc etc then the bad etc etc will come and get you!

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Good point. I know that sitting down in the middle of the road will lead to boils on my tushy. Would it not have been equally as effective if they had told me I would be squashed by a garbage truck? Maybe not.

      I now wonder though, who is actually sending the ‘careful that you don’t badmouth the govt’ messages. Is it a concerned elder trying to warn us of the dangers of being overly vocal about political matters or is it a govt trying to scare us from grumbling and seeing that we are not the only ones grumbling?

  4. Paranoia Agent

    😂 Sounds like a typical day in China!
    This might be a hoax chain letter, but expect a huge chunk of what you do online to be permanently archived across various government and private servers, waiting and ready for the day some government sees you as a person of interest or for the day computing is cheap enough and powerful enough to make everyone on earth an active person of interest.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I keep forgetting, this is all normal in China. Could our ‘close ties’ to China mean we will be following in those footsteps? Or are we already halfway there? I don’t know.

      I agree though, whatever the case is right now, the future looks set in stone. We are going to be surveilled and monitored to governments’ content. You kind of feel like telling tech companies to ease up on the innovation and improvements.

      1. The Empress

        Everytime I read or watch a video about life in China. I get the feeling that someone read the George Orwell book 1984 and thought to themselves “…yes, yes this is the way to get things done! Control everything. Put a wall around the country and only allow what we deem is acceptable to be seen or heard, even when they complain it must be in an acceptable way! Let them understand that there is no need to worry about thinking for themselves. Otherwise heh, heh, heh”
        And then I look to the West and someone there thought to themselves “nope they must have the illusion of choice” “…give them applications and devices(Siri, Alexa) that are useful and fun that they will use their hard earned money to buy for themselves and then install cookies that track them across multiple apps building up profiles as well listen in to some of their private moments and then you will know them better than they know themselves! Guide their minds in the direction you want, but remember to always let them believe that they are free and doing what they truly want to.”
        Now I feel like crying but I don’t know if it’s because I was allowed to cry or I was told that I could cry?

      2. Tkt

        Already we have so e systems in place, operating the sane way the Chinese do, &Israeli too

  5. Tkt

    Well guys, somebody help me, I’ve seen those funny texts like the one you say is circulating on WhatsApp, how really are they read for instance this lines below:
    “” Aʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟs ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ʀᴇᴄᴏʀᴅᴇᴅ.
    Aʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟ ʀᴇᴄᴏʀᴅɪɴɢs ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ sᴀᴠᴇᴅ.””

    What do those lines mean can somebody translate them for me

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