Alt News has received multiple requests to fact-check a one-minute video on WhatsApp (+917600011160) and on our official Android application.
The video is part of an India TV broadcast where the anchor can be heard saying in Hindi, “This message is from the Central Government, PM Modi. If you want to avoid this problem, send this message to all your contacts…” (Translated from ये सन्देश सेंट्रल गवर्नमेंट पीएम मोदी द्वारा दिया गया है. अगर आपको इस समस्या से बचना है तो आपको ये मेसेज आपके सभी कांटेक्ट लिस्ट में भेजना होगा.)
From what it seems, the video is part of a lengthier broadcast by India TV. A text flashed on top of the screen is the question — “क्या आधी रात से बंद हो जाएगा आपका व्हाट्सऐप?” (Will your WhatsApp be shut by midnight?” Another ticker says ‘आज का वायरल’ which is a daily show on India TV where the channel talks about the viral news of the day.
Alt News performed a keyword search ‘whatsapp india tv‘ on YouTube and found that the longer bulletin was broadcast by India TV on September 17, 2019.
As per the report, a viral text claims that WhatsApp would soon be shut and people would only be able to use the application after paying a monthly fee. India TV was fact-checking the viral message. They spoke with a cyber expert who said that the message is a hoax. A part of the broadcast where India TV is reading out the viral message was cropped out and presented on social media.
Alt News had published a fact-check report about the viral message last year where a WhatsApp spokesperson was quoted terming the message a “known hoax”. The same misinformation has been rampant since 2015. Furthermore, similar hoaxes were circulated and debunked in different parts of the world in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
It is noteworthy that last year before the message began floating online, WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook was experiencing technical issues that prevented users from uploading or sending media files. The social networking giant had clarified this on Twitter.
Thus the claim that WhatsApp will not be functioning between 11:30 pm and 6 am is false.