Phones Review

WhatsApp error status unavailable, Hoax & Facebook buyout

Under: Apps
Date: December 4th, 2012

For those of you who’ve never heard of WhatsApp it’s a cross-platform mobile messaging app for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian and Windows Phone and it’s in the news at the moment on several fronts. Firstly there has been a contact status error, followed by a hoax message and also it appears that Facebook is in talks over a buyout for the company.

Last week it was reported that thousands of users across the world were affected by a WhatsApp contact status bug whereby “error: unknown” was being shown. The glitch was acknowledged by WhatsApp using Twitter, where the company said that status functionality was not currently available and that work was taking place to resolve the issue. Unfortunately a hoax message was then planted urging WhatsApp users to forward a message to every one of their contacts to avoid the possibility of their accounts being deleted.

The hoax message purported to be from WhatsApp CEO Jim Balsamic and said, “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.” The message went on to say that users who failed to pass on the message would have their accounts invalidated and deleted within 48 hours and then added, “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.”

As you can imagine this sent many WhatsApp users into a spin but Think Digit says that WhatsApp has reportedly fixed the contact status error and has also stated that the circulated message was indeed a hoax. This is not the first time that a hoax message has circulated on WhatsApp with something similar doing the rounds in January so WhatsApp users may want to bear this in mind when looking at future messages.

In more WhatsApp news industry reports are saying that Facebook is currently in talks to acquire the company according to Rethink Wireless. Although the social network has seen big increases in mobile usage it’s thought that the move could help Facebook’s standing in the mobile world. Facebook previously said that it wanted to add more chargeable functionality as well as concentrate on apps to boost its mobile business so a WhatsApp buyout would certainly make sense in this regard. Apparently TechCrunch originally reported the possible acquisition news but so far there has been no comment from either WhatsApp or Facebook.

Another good reason for Facebook being interested in WhatsApp is that Facebook currently has an ad-supported Messenger app for iOS and Android platforms but WhatsApp would expand this scope to other platforms without being dependent on advertising. We’d like to hear your thoughts on WhatsApp and the possible Facebook buyout so let us have your comments on this.

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