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WhatsApp bans users of third-party clients including WhatsApp Plus

Earlier this week BGR India reported how WhatsApp Plus was being wrongly claimed to be the next version of WhatsApp and how it could pose a security and privacy threat to users. Today, WhatsApp has b

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Earlier this week BGR India reported how WhatsApp Plus was being wrongly claimed to be the next version of WhatsApp and how it could pose a security and privacy threat to users. Today, WhatsApp has banned WhatsApp Plus users from accessing WhatsApp’s services.

Many WhatsApp Plus users are saying that WhatsApp has banned them from using the service for a period of 24 hours for violating its terms of conditions. WhatsApp confirms the ban and is likely to crack down on other third-party services as well that provide similar services.

In a statement posted on its FAQ page, WhatsApp provides the same reasoning that BGR India had reported.

Why am I banned for using WhatsApp Plus and how do I get unbanned?

WhatsApp Plus is an application that was not developed by WhatsApp, nor is it authorized by WhatsApp. The developers of WhatsApp Plus have no relationship to WhatsApp, and we do not support WhatsApp Plus. Please be aware that WhatsApp Plus contains source code which WhatsApp cannot guarantee as safe and that your private information is potentially being passed to 3rd parties without your knowledge or authorization.

Please uninstall your application and install an authorized version of WhatsApp from our website or Google Play. Then, you will be able to use WhatsApp.

WhatsApp Plus, which claimed to be a WhatsApp mod, provided many features that WhatsApp did not, making many falsely believe that it was the next version of WhatsApp that had been leaked. However, the developer itself never made any such claims, though the resemblance of the logo might indicate otherwise. The app offered themes, the ability to modify chat screens and conversation screens and much more.

WhatsApp would hope that the temporary ban would make people move away from third-party apps that connect to its servers and move to the legitimate app itself. This would not just protect users from apps that steal their data or pose a security threat but also ensure that users are on the latest version of WhatsApp rather than relying on something from a third-party developer who’s out to make a quick buck riding upon WhatsApp’s popularity. WhatsApp recently partnered with Open Whisper Systems, which would provide end-to-end encryption for its Android client. However, third-party apps like WhatsApp Plus would undermine WhatsApp’s security measures.

At last count, WhatsApp had 700 million monthly active users and is showing no signs of slowing down with users sending over 30 billion messages every day. WhatsApp had over 70 million monthly active users in India last November, one of its biggest markets. However, WhatsApp faces challenges from carriers in emerging markets including India, where they want OTT services like WhatsApp to enter a revenue share model that compensates them for loss in SMS revenue and also come under the same licensing and other regulations that are applicable to them.

  • Published Date: January 21, 2015 5:00 AM IST