WhatsApp says it has started banning phone numbers found to be using modified versions of the messaging service other than the official one, and deleting their chat histories, according to a warning it has issued in its FAQ section.
It detailed the message the users will receive if they are found to be using a clone version of the service, indicating that smartphone owners may not get any notification beforehand.
"Your phone number is banned from using WhatsApp. Contact support for help. Be aware that we ban accounts if we believe the account activity is in violation of our Terms of Service”, the warning reads, adding:
“Please review the ‘Acceptable Use of Our Services’ section of our Terms of Service carefully to learn more about the appropriate uses of WhatsApp and the activities that violate our Terms of Service”.
The so-called WhatsApp MOD is a fake version of the original messenger that allows users to go around WhatsApp’s security rules to some extent by hiding the double blue check appearing when a message has been read by a recipient, or their last connection time. The MOD version stands a higher risk of being hacked, thereby exposing users’ personal details.
Multiple WhatsApp clones have been emerging on Google Play and the Apple Store, tricking users into downloading a fake version. For instance, the dodgy app, which was reported a little over a year ago, called “Update WhatsApp Messenger”, had been specially designed to look just like the real deal and thus perfectly convincing to users.
When it comes to the original messenger, users recently reported a couple of ways to disguise the fact that they have read a WhatsApp message. Apart from the trick of turning on the airplane mode after receiving a message, there is a less popular method – a feature called 3D Touch, found on a number of the latest iPhone models.
It works as follows: when users get a notification, they can press lightly on their screen to get access to a full-screen preview of the message without being taken to the chat itself. However, one automatically gets redirected to the full chat window if one touches the notification too hard.