I found the following message in my WhatsApp inbox, when I woke up this morning:
"Whatsapp is shutting down on 28th jan Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp) 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, 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. 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. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the Whatsapp team"
I thought it sounded fishy, and it wasn't difficult to look them up and double check. As I had suspected:
“@WhatsApp: it is just a hoax: http://t.co/Go8KLqDi”
As is the case with email, our texting applications are targeted by hoaxers and scammers. It can be tough to keep a level head - but it is quite easy to check things out. Use your twitter or google search capabilities, if you are unsure. As unlikely as it is that Bill Gates is tracking the email in your mailbox, or that some Nigerian Bank executive has millions of dollars with your name on it - chances are equally unlikely that your chat-app usage is being monitored by the Giant Spaghetti Monster in the Sky.
Remember kids: If it smells fishy, it probably is. (Also consider washing your upper lip...)