Billions of WhatsApp users could face a block from the popular chat app. The messaging platform – the most popular on the planet – issued the warning when an unofficial version of WhatsApp went viral on social media at the end of last month.
Dubbed “GB WhatsApp”, this Android application is designed to share enough characteristics with its namesake that smartphone owners might assume it’s developed by the official team. However, “GB WhatsApp” has nothing to do with the original chat app. Instead, this Android app promises a number of features not found in WhatsApp, including the ability to auto-reply to text messages, like an Out Of Office in an email app, send more photos in a single bundle, hide read receipts while still being able to see others’ read status, and a number of other benefits not available in the official messaging app.
The lookalike app links to your WhatsApp account, unlocking these features not yet available in the official version of WhatsApp.
And its these never-before-seen features that has allowed “GB WhatsApp” to gain traction amongst fans worldwide. But while it might be tempting to download and install the app on your Android phone to gain access to these features… you’ll need to be really sure that you want those extra tricks.
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That’s because WhatsApp has warned that users will be blocked from the messaging app if they download unofficial third-party software, like “GB WhatsApp”. In an update to the small-print on its site, WhatsApp underlined that copycat apps are banned under its terms of service.
“If you received an in-app message stating your account is ‘Temporarily banned’ this means that you’re likely using an unsupported version of WhatsApp instead of the official WhatsApp app,” the Facebook-owned firm said. “If you don’t switch to the official app after being temporarily banned, your account might be permanently banned from using WhatsApp.”
Clone apps that link to your WhatsApp account to bring new capabilities not supported in the Facebook-owned original app are banned. According to WhatsApp, this policy is designed to protect users from security concerns.
“Unsupported apps, such as WhatsApp Plus, GB WhatsApp, or apps that claim to move your WhatsApp chats between phones, are altered versions of WhatsApp,” WhatsApp added in a comment to The Sun. “These unofficial apps are developed by third parties and violate our Terms of Service. WhatsApp doesn’t support these third-party apps because we can’t validate their security practices.”
“GB WhatsApp” isn’t available in the Google Play Store. Instead, Android smartphone owners have to seek out “GB WhatsApp” from unofficial app repositories online. You’ll also need to disable some of the safeguards turned on by default on Android to download from the web.
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