A WhatsApp forward claiming changes to WhatsApp delivery receipts which alert a user that a government agency is monitoring their chats, is false. The message is a rehash of an old forward which has been debunked in the past.
The message comes at a time when WhatsApp is facing a backlash in India and abroad after it revealed that 1400 users globally were targeted with a sophisticated Israeli spyware - Pegasus. The surveillance software, created by Israel's NSO Group, was deployed through a chink in WhatsApp's video calling feature.
ALSO READ: Question Remains Who Used Israeli Spyware To Target Select Indian WhatsApp Users
The latest hoax message claims that if there are three blue ticks, the message has been 'observed' by a government agency and if there are two blue ticks and one red, the government may take action.
The WhatsApp forward further urges people to be careful about what they share on WhatsApp and even asks to spread it to others.
It even has a link to an article by the British Broadcasting Corporation to make it look more genuine.
But this is not the first time that a viral message cautioning people about government snooping on them is viral. BOOM has debunked a similar claim in the past.
BOOM found that the claim is false as the WhatsApp's website has no mention of any red tick or three ticks anywhere. The website describes all its features and lists all the read receipts explaining what each check mark means.
The website has a separate section called 'Checking Read Receipts' which lists just three read receipts. The first one shows one check mark which means message successfully sent. The second one shows two check marks which means that the message has been successfully delivered to the recipient's phone. The third one shows two blue ticks which means that the recipient has read the message.
There is also a mention of group chats and says that the second check mark appears when all the participants have read the message and the blue check marks appear when all the participants in the group have read your message.
Furthermore, the BBC link mentioned in the WhatsApp message titled, "WhatsApp discovers surveillance attack" is from May 14, 2019 and is about the same Pegasus spyware hack.
BOOM contacted BBC who said, "We can confirm that this account is fake and has nothing at all to do with BBC News. We urge audiences to verify stories on the BBC News website."
A spokesperson for WhatsApp did not respond to our query till the time of publishing. The story will be updated upon receiving a response.
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