“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: –
- Aʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟs ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ʀᴇᴄᴏʀᴅᴇᴅ.
- Aʟʟ ᴄᴀʟʟ ʀᴇᴄᴏʀᴅɪɴɢs ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ sᴀᴠᴇᴅ.
- WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ, FᴀᴄᴇBᴏᴏᴋ, Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ, Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀʟʟ sᴏᴄɪᴀʟ ᴍᴇᴅɪᴀ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴍᴏɴɪᴛᴏʀᴇᴅ.
- Yᴏᴜʀ ᴅᴇᴠɪᴄᴇs ᴡɪʟʟ ᴄᴏɴɴᴇᴄᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ Mɪɴɪsᴛʀʏ sʏsᴛᴇᴍ.
- Tᴀᴋᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴇ ɴᴏᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴇɴᴅ ᴀ ᴡʀᴏɴɢ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ.
- Tᴇʟʟ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ, sɪʙʟɪɴɢs, ʀᴇʟᴀᴛɪᴠᴇs, ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs, ᴀᴄϙᴜᴀɪɴᴛᴀɴᴄᴇs ᴛʜᴀᴛ they sʜᴏᴜʟᴅ be ᴄᴀʀᴇful ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴀʀᴇʟʏ ʀᴜɴ sᴏᴄɪᴀʟ sɪᴛᴇs.
- Dᴏ ɴᴏᴛ sᴇɴᴅ ᴀɴʏ ʙᴀᴅ ᴘᴏsᴛ ᴏʀ ᴠɪᴅᴇᴏ ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ʀᴇɢᴀʀᴅɪɴɢ ᴘᴏʟɪᴛɪᴄs ᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛ sɪᴛᴜᴀᴛɪᴏɴ.
- 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.
- Tʜᴇ ᴘᴏʟɪᴄᴇ ᴡɪʟʟ ɪssᴜᴇ ᴀ ɴᴏᴛɪғɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, ᴛʜᴇɴ ʙᴇ ᴘʀᴏsᴇᴄᴜᴛᴇᴅ ʙʏ Cʏʙᴇʀ Cʀɪᴍᴇ, ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ɪs ᴠᴇʀʏ sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs.
- Aʟʟ ʏᴏᴜ ɢʀᴏᴜᴘ ᴍᴇᴍʙᴇʀs, ᴍᴏᴅᴇʀᴀᴛᴏʀs ᴘʟᴇᴀsᴇ ᴄᴏɴsɪᴅᴇʀ ᴛʜɪs ɪssᴜᴇ.
- 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 …
- ✔ = ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ sᴇɴᴛ.
- ✔✔ = ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴄʜᴇᴅ.
- Tᴡᴏ ʙʟᴜᴇ ✔️✔️ = ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴅ.
Tʜʀᴇᴇ ʙʟᴜᴇ ✔️✔️✔️ = Tʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ᴛᴏᴏᴋ ɴᴏᴛᴇ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇ.
- Tᴡᴏ ʙʟᴜᴇ ✔️✔️ ᴀɴᴅ ᴏɴᴇ ʀᴇᴅ ✔️ = ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ᴄᴀɴ ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴ ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ʏᴏᴜ.
- Oɴᴇ ʙʟᴜᴇ✔️ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛᴡᴏ ʀᴇᴅ✔️✔️ = ᴛʜᴇ ɢᴏᴠᴇʀɴᴍᴇɴᴛ ɪs ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋɪɴɢ ʏᴏᴜʀ ɪɴғᴏʀᴍᴀᴛɪᴏɴ.
- 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.