WhatsApp users on Wednesday were in for a rude shock, when they first found everyone on their contact list swith their status field listed "error: unknown" and then got a terse message from the CEO of the company complaining about how they weren't making money and you needed to forward the message to all your contacts to prove you were a legitimate user.
Thankfully though there's little to worry about: WhatsApp remains free to use, the CEO doesn't hate as you as much as you thought from his message and it was just a spam message that made the rounds as a feature of the messaging service was affected.
On Wednesday morning, the official Twitter handle for WhatsApp put out the following message:
WhatsApp status functionality is currently not available.We are working on resolving it soon-ish...
— WhatsApp Status (@wa_status) नवम्बर 28, 2012
However within hours a message had begun to circulate on the messaging service saying the service was to become paid and that you needed to forward the message to stay on the service for free:
"Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp): we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill."
And since everyone loves getting/using things for free, the message did the rounds with most people forwarding it to all their contacts. However, while the status message update feature has been restored to normal on some phones it is still displaying the error message on others.
If you still have the error message, you'll just have to trust the folks at WhatsApp on their promise and wait for it to be restored to normal. And in case you don't believe us check out the eerily similar messages that have done the rounds of WhatsApp in the past.