On May 26, BJP’s DN Ramesh, a corporator of ward number 142 (Sunkanahalli) in Bangalore, posted a status update on his Facebook page requesting people to delete WhatsApp and start using an alternative messaging service called Telegram. His post claimed that Whatsapp is a product of an American company while Telegram is an Indian product and in order to promote ‘Made In India’, it was important to use Telegram instead of WhatsApp.

DELETE WHATSAPP🚫 Today our PM Modi ji spoke a slogan of Made In India. Come lets start with using TELEGRAM an Indian app instead of using the American app WhatsApp. 🔹It is the first Indian social media app. Think about it...Even the Chinese have refused WhatsApp and adopted the Made in China "WeChat", when we are going to start?? Use Whatsapp for one year & stop it! Its one year cost is 56 Rupees, and In India there are 20crore Indians.... If we use WhatsApp then 20crore × 56rupees=1120crore rupees will go outside India, to create awareness please send this msg to everyone & download TELEGRAM. 🔘TELEGRAM has more functions then WhatsApp:- 🔸It can send 50MB video 🔸It can even send Word, Excel & Adobe files 🔸In a group, 200 people can be added 🔸It is free of cost, no charges at all 🔸The most important thing, it works same as WhatsApp & the interface is also like Whatsapp only.. So today onwards use 💌TELEGRAM💌 🇮🇳Indian🇮🇳 Forward this message to 25 WhatsApp contacts. u wil get Rs.497.54 talktime. Watch in today Times of India newspaper. Page no 7. thank you. Check your balance after 10min

An identical version of the above message is being shared by many on WhatsApp and Social Media.

Delete WhatsApp, Install Telegram

This message has many factual inaccuracies, the foremost being Telegram is not by an Indian company. Telegram was founded by two Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov and was originally based in Berlin. It is registered both as an American Limited Liability Company and Limited Liability Partnership in UK. Clearly, nothing Indian about the company. Following is an extract from Wikipedia’s article on Telegram.

Telegram was launched in 2013 by brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, who previously founded the Russian social network VK, but had to leave the company after it was taken over by Mail.ru Group.[15][16] Nikolai Durov created the MTProto protocol that is the basis for the messenger, while Pavel provided financial support and infrastructure through his Digital Fortress fund with business partner Axel Neff, a third founder of Telegram.[17] Telegram is registered as both an English LLP[18] and an American LLC.[19] It does not disclose where it rents offices or which legal entities it uses to rent them, citing the need to "shelter the team from unnecessary influence" and protect users from governmental data requests.[20] The service says that it is headquartered in Berlin, Germany.[21] Durov left Russia and is said to be moving from country to country with a small group of computer programmers

Thus, the most basic premise that Telegram is an Indian company and should be installed to promote Make in India is incorrect. Moreover, WhatsApp announced in January 2016 that it will forever be a free service and will not charge any subscription fees. Hence, the claim about money going out to an American company in form of subscription fees is also incorrect. Lastly, forwarding messages on WhatsApp never leads to any kind of financial award unless you are in a political party’s IT Cell and that is your job.

This message first became viral in May 2014, soon after Mr Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister and had been debunked as fake back then. However, just as we have seen how fake videos keep circulating for over 2 years, these fake WhatsApp forwards seem to be immortal as well.